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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Kabaddi: Daughters of India clinch first-ever 100th medal at Asian Games

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The daughters of India made their countrymen proud and brought the tears of joy cascading down as they fetched India their first-ever 100th medal at the Asian Games here on Saturday.

The Indian women’s kabaddi team pulled off a thriller against Chinese Taipei in the Asian Games 2023 final to win the gold medal match 26-25 at the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre here on Saturday.

This was India’s third gold in the women’s kabaddi team in the history of the continental meet.

The Indian women’s kabaddi team had won golds at 2010 Guangzhou and 2014 Incheon continental meets, and were runners-up at 2018 Jakarta Games.

Chinese Taipei upgraded their bronze from 2018 Jakarta to silver in kabaddi at Hangzhou.

Top-scorers during group clashes, Pushpa Rana and Pooja Hathwala, started the raids for India.

Chinese Taipei got off the chips with Hsiu-Chen Feng levelling the scores with a super raid. She then managed two touches and a bonus to bring the scores on par at 5-5 for Chinese Taipei.

Pooja, in a mercurial super raid, fetched India three touches and a bonus, helping India take a five-point cushion at half-time.

Leading 14-9 at the start of the second-half, India bloated their lead to six at the start of the second half. But Chinese Taipei sketched up a super tackle on Pushpa Rana to reduce the gap by two points.

The next few minutes saw India and Chinese Taipei in a tit-for-tat encounter, but the latter inflicted an all-out on India to take a two-point lead at 21-19.

Pushpa Rana brought India back with a one-point lead through successful raids. Just a bonus point from Chinese Taipei on their final two raids helped India take the gold medal by the narrowest of margins.

Earlier, India and Chinese Taipei played out a thrilling 34-34 draw in the group stage. While India beat Nepal in the semifinal on Friday, Chinese Taipei overcame the 2018 champions Iran in the semis to make the final.

The women’s kabaddi is also part of the programme for the 2026 Asian Games to be held in Japan.

UNI BDN AKS

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