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Asian Games 2018: India’s Kabaddi giants look to continue gold rush

With established players in all the positions, India are all set to continue their domination in the sport and leading the team will be experienced raider Ajay Thakur.

other sports Updated: Aug 16, 2018 12:41 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
india,kabaddi,ajay thakur
New Delhi: Indian Kabaddi team led by Ajay Thakur pose for a photo ahead of their participation in 6-nation Kabaddi Masters to be held in Dubai, in New Delhi on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.(PTI)

When it comes to Kabaddi at the Asian Games, there is no bigger power than India. Since the introduction of the men’s category in 1990, they have won the gold on every occasion and a look at the scores in the summit clashes show how dominant they have been over the years.

The story is almost same in the women’s division with the Indian teams winning the gold in the last two editions of the Asian Games and in 2018, India will once again be the favourites to win it all in Kabaddi.

The men’s team is already in tremendous form following their success in the Dubai Kabaddi Masters and last year’s World Championships. With established players in all the positions, India are all set to continue their domination in the sport and leading the team will be experienced raider Ajay Thakur.

Talking about raiders, a lot of responsibility will lie on Monu Goyat and Rahul Chaudhari who have established themselves a huge stars thanks to the Pro Kabaddi League. Chaudhari has been a consistent performer for Telegu Titans while Goyat became the highest-payed Indian sportsperson outside cricket when he was signed by Haryana Steelers for a massive sum of Rs 1,51,00,000.

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The defence will be controlled by Girish Ernak and Mohit Chhillar with Raju Lal Chaudhari being the third defensive player in the squad. Ernakl impressed the fans by scoring 19 tackle points in Kabaddi Masters while Chhillar has been a well-known name in the Pro Kabaddi League for quite some time.

“We want to continue the tradition and our aim is to bag the gold medal. We cannot think anything other than that,” raider Monu Goyat told PTI during a recent interaction.

“All the teams are good and will give their best. But the Korean and the Iran teams are good. Even the Pakistan and Bangladesh teams are good, these 3-4 teams can pose a competition,” he added.

A look at the women’s kabaddi team and the domination has been almost similar. The category was introduced at the Asian Games in 2010and India have won gold in both of 2010 and 2014. In the last edition, they comfortably managed to clinch the gold medal by beating Iran with a 10 point margin.

In 2018, India have gone with a strong squad led by veteran Mamatha Poojary but the most notable absentee was Abhilasha Mhatre, who is one of the best raiders for India. She was a member of the 2014 Asian Games squad and her exclusion came as a shock to a lot of Indian kabaddi fans.

Men’s Team:

Girish Maruti Ernak, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Mohit Chhillar, Sandeep Narwal, Pardeep Narwal, Rishank Devadiga, Monu Goyat, Ajay Thakur, Rohit Kumar, Raju Lal Choudhary, Mallesh Gangadhari, Rahul Chaudhari. Standby: Amit Nagar, Maninder Singh

Women’s Team:

Sakshi Kumari, Kavita Devi, Priyanka, Manpreet Kaur, Payel Chowdhury, Ritu Negi, Sonali Vishnu Shingate, Sayali Sanjay KeriPale, Randeep Kaur Khehra, Shalini Pathak, Usha Rani Narasimhalah, Madhu. Standby: Priyanka, Shama Parveen

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 12:32 IST