Asian Games 2014: Indian men & women kabaddi teams reach semifinals
Incheon: Six-time champions India notched up their third win on the trot with a 23-11 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan to top their group and storm into the semifinals of the men's kabaddi competitions in the Asian Games here on Tuesday.
India, who have won the kabaddi gold since the sport was added in the 1990 Asian Games, seemed to be heading towards a thrashing of the Pakistanis as they led 17-4 at the halftime.
But Pakistan, who were the silver winners in 2006 Asian Games, came back strongly in the second session in which they scored seven points as against six by the Indians. But the Pakistani fightback was too late in the day and the huge first half lead gave the Indians a comfortable in the end.
India, who have earlier beaten Bangladesh and Thailand, topped Group A with an all-win record.
Indian women's kabaddi team also produced a clinical performance to outwit hosts South Korea 45-26 to enter the semi-finals. They topped the group en route their last four entry.
The Indians, who beat Bangladesh 29-18 in their lung opener, took a commanding 27-10 half time lead. They secured six points by packing off the entire Korean team thrice in the match, including twice in the opening half.
The bulk of their points, 32, came through touching or bundling out the rival players during raids or defending. They also got two bonus points for touching the bonus point line in the rival court.
The Koreans never really threatened the Indian women though late in the second half their raiders twice packed off two rival players.
For India, Mamatha was the dominant raider along with captain Tejaswini Bai while Pooja Thakur also did her bit.
Korea's Shin Somin suffered an ankle injury during a raid and had to be taken off the court. India await the runners-up of Group B in the semi finals scheduled for October 2.
Indian skipper Tejeswini said she expected a better fight from the Koreans who were being coached by an Indian.
"Today's match was one-sided, but Korea is a very good team that has trained under an Indian coach. We were expecting better fight from them," she said.
Tejeswini hoped that kabaddi would become an Olympic sport in six years' time when the Games are held in Asia.
"Kabaddi has gained in popularity after newly introduced Pro Kabaddi league for men. I am hoping that kabaddi gets its due as an Olympic sport at 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan," she said after India's comprehensive win.