In Pics: Iran Women’s Kabaddi Team Lift Historic Gold in Asiad
The Iranian women’s kabaddi team were overcome with emotion after defeating defending champions India in the 18th Asian Games on Friday, 24 August.
In a closely fought match, Iran got the better of the Indian women’s team, in a cat and mouse chase, at 27-24 points.
Raider Saeideh Jafarikoochi troubled the Indian defence with her deceptive raids as Iran gradually asserted their supremacy as the match wore on.
While the Indian defenders struggled to get their act together, the Iran attackers reaped rich rewards by repeatedly targeting the bonus line.
The confident Iranian defence looked in no hurry, as their well-timed tackles and strong holds reduced India to four members in the first half, taking out captain Payel Chowdhuri and first-choice raider Sonali Shingate to help maintain a steady lead.
The Indians tried to pull the tide back in their favour with continued attempts to chip away the three-point-lead, but efforts were foiled as the poor defence by the team continued to leak points.
The match was set up for a dramatic finish as Sakshi produced a three-point raid to bring the deficit to a single point and give India hope.
But Iran immediately hit back with a point in the very next raid, before an unsuccessful Indian raid in the final seconds killed the defending champion's hope of retaining their crown.
This is the first time in history that the Asian Games will see a team other than India win the gold medal.
The Indians had won both the previous editions since women's kabaddi was included in the Asian Games programme at Guangzhou 2010.