Pakistan crashed out of the Kabaddi World Cup, losing their semi-final clash against Canada 43-39 and now face Italy in the third-place play-off today.
India and Canada, meanwhile, will meet in the title clash after the hosts had defeated Italy 75-15 in the first semi-final.
In a close encounter, Pakistan put up a fighting performance, leading 29-28 at the end of the first session. However, Canada upped the tempo in the second session to take the lead and sealed the victory despite playing with only eight players instead of 10.
World Cup Organising Secretary Sikandar Singh Maloka admitted that the result was a disappointing one for Indian fans, who had been rooting for an Indo-Pak final.
“It’s been a shocking result for everyone,” Maloka told The Express Tribune. “The Indian fans were rooting for Pakistan. Everyone wanted to have an India-Pakistan final and we’re disappointed at the result. We really thought that we could have the repeat of the 2009 World Cup final.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) Secretary Muhammad Sarwar said that the organisers had given undue advantage to Canada as three of their players’ dope test reports had been withheld.
“It’s frustrating to see Pakistan crash out in the semi-final and that too against Canada,” said Sarwar. “We’ve been playing fair, while other teams have players who have been using performance enhancing drugs. I don’t understand why the organisers didn’t ban Canada, just like they banned the US after their players’ dope tests had come positive. Canada had three of players testing positive for doping. It’s just not fair.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2011.