Army clinched the International Beach Kabaddi Tournament after overcoming Iran 40-36 in the final held in Islamabad yesterday. While Iran defeated Pakistan Navy 47-35, Army beat PAF 30-25 to set up the final showdown.
After facing stiff resistance in the semi-final, Army, the defending champions, built on their strong start after they claimed 10 points in the first round against Iran’s total of seven. Army continued their dominance and secured 10 more points before the tourists hit back.
Iran claimed an aggregate of 29 points in the next two rounds before Army staged a comeback to win the close encounter and remain unbeaten in the tournament. The loss ended Iran’s seven-match winning run in the kabaddi championship.
“Iran fought really hard,” Army captain Nasir Ali told The Express Tribune. “The last time we played against them in the World Cup they weren’t impressive.
“I thought the game slipped away from us in the fourth round, but our experience got us through in the end. Iran have been the toughest competitor in the event. We were disappointed with Afghanistan’s show in the tournament,” said Ali.
Army and Iran were followed by Navy who finished third in the tournament after beating Wapda 46-40 in the play-off match. Wapda defeated Afghanistan 61-23 in a one-sided match to finish fourth in the event while PAF also outplayed Afghanistan 33-16.
Afghanistan finished bottom of the event that featured 11 teams including sports departments and provincial teams.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2011.