KARACHI: Pakistan finally won a gold medal at the 2016 Asian Beach Games as the kabbadi team defeated arch-rivals India 30-28 in a close match to clinch the men’s event in Da Nang, Vietnam yesterday, marking a major blow to India right before the Kabaddi World Cup next month.
Pakistan led the first half 16-11 before India took 17 points to Pakistan’s 14 in the second half, but Pakistan held on in the end.
“It was an amazing victory for us, and we were confident of our performance; we really dominated the match,” Pakistan captain Nasir Ali told The Express Tribune, in the midst of celebrating with the team in Vietnam. “We had a strong first half, and India couldn’t catch us.”
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Pakistan didn’t have happy memories of the final, having lost the last two editions to finish runners-up in 2012 and 2014 but finally managed to get their hands on the gold.
“We are ecstatic that we won our first kabaddi medal in the Asian Beach Games since we had before faltered in the final,” said Ali, who has been a part of the team in all four Asian Beach Games to date. “It is also Pakistan’s first gold this year so that makes it even more special.”
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Hoping to take part in World Cup
Pakistan are still trying to get their visas and clearance from India for the upcoming kabaddi World Cup which begins on October 7 in Gujarat.
According to Pakistan Kabbadi Federation secretary Muhammad Sarwar, they are still optimistic about featuring and said the political situation between the countries should not hinder sporting activities.
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“The sports community has got nothing to do with politics — we are hoping for the best, we’ve sent in our documents and it is just a matter of getting clearance from India,” said Sarwar.
Ali also felt missing out on the World Cup would be tough, and added that his players are ready for the mega-event if they are to receive their travel documents.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2016.
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