LAHORE.: Pakistan on Sunday made history by becoming the world champions of Kabaddi for the first time after defeating arch-rivals India at the Punjab Stadium.
Pakistan was crowned with the beautifully designed winner’s trophy as it emerged the victor in the final of the Kabaddi World Cup 2020. It collected Rs10 million in prize money while the runners-up team received Rs7.5 million.
The men in green gave the crowd a moment to cherish as they made the traditional rivals bite the dust at their home ground. In doing so, they sent out the message loud and clear that Pakistan is a safe place to visit, play and rejoice.
The hosts trounced the visitors with a margin of 43-41, giving sports aficionados in the country a reason to celebrate. As Pakistan clinched the game, people holding the national flag broke into impromptu dance (bhangra).
Both the teams had shown their skillful game during the tournament and respectively outplayed their opponents – Iran and Australia – in the semifinals. Crowds had turned up in large numbers to support their teams at a time when both the countries have strained diplomatic relations.
From the Pakistan side, skipper Irfan Mana, Shafiq Chishti, Waqas Butt, Malik bin Yameen, Sajjad Gujjar, and Qamar Butt gave a thrilling performance.
“This victory is not just of the players or the team but of the whole country. The victory attained after defeating India has a different meaning,” said Captain Irfan Mana.
“We were certain to face tough competition from the Indian team in the finals. We are thankful to the Almighty who bestowed us with success at our home ground. Every player made an equal contribution to the victory,” added the skipper.
Earlier, a match was played between Iran and Australia to determine the third and fourth place for the tournament. Iran comfortably defeated Australia with a margin of 54-33.
Overwhelmed by the success, players of the Iran team paraded through the ground carrying their national flag amid cheers and applause.
Messages of support and good wishes started pouring in for the home side.
While reacting on the victory, President Dr Arif Alvi said: “We should dedicate this win to ‘peace’ in the region and the world.”
Congratulations to the Pakistan Kabaddi team for winning the #KabaddiWorldCup2020. We should dedicate this win to 'peace' in the region and the world. You have made us proud.
— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) February 16, 2020
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took to twitter to pay tribute to the home side. “Shabaash Shero Wonderful game of Kabaddi and well deserved victory by Team Pakistan Congratulations to every Pakistani celebrating this win today,” said Buzdar.
Wonderful game of Kabaddi and well deserved victory by Team Pakistan Congratulations to every Pakistani celebrating this win today.#KabaddiWC2020 #ApniMattiApniKhel #KabaddiWorldCup2020 pic.twitter.com/anXhTtlhnJ
— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) February 16, 2020
Meanwhile, cricketers Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim also shared their messages and wished the team.
“Who’s watching the Kabaddi World cup final and what entertainment this is?!! Crowd is electric and so is the action on field. Fantastic comeback by Pakistan,” said Malik.
Who’s watching the Kabaddi World cup final and what entertainment this is?!!
Crowd is electric and so is the action on field. Fantastic comeback by Pakistan #KabaddiWC2020
— Shoaib Malik (@realshoaibmalik) February 16, 2020
Imad Wasim, the all-rounder, said: “43-41 is the final score. And that’s after being down after the first half. Fantastic effort from the boys to crown Pakistan Kabaddi champions. Thank you to all teams for coming to Pakistan!”
43-41 is the final score. And that’s after being down after the first half. Fantastic effort from the boys to crown Pakistan Kabaddi champions. Thank you to all teams for coming to Pakistan! #KabaddiWC2020 #ibleedgreen pic.twitter.com/pkrpLf97rz
— Imad Wasim (@simadwasim) February 16, 2020