Indian men's kabaddi team reclaims Asian Games title after controversial final

India's men's kabaddi teams win gold at the Asian Games in a controversial final. The men's team beat defending champions Iran 33-29, while the women's team beat Chinese Taipei 26-25.
Indian men's Kabaddi team that won Gold medal at Asian Games 2023
Indian men's Kabaddi team that won Gold medal at Asian Games 2023

Hangzhou | The Indian men's kabaddi team emerged victorious after an hour of arguments to reclaim its Asian Games title, beating defending champions Iran 33-29 in a controversial final, which was temporarily suspended, here on Saturday.

The women's team survived by the skin of its teeth as it beat Chinese Taipei 26-25 in a dramatic final for the country's 100th medal.

There was hardly anything separating the two teams in the men's summit clash at 28-28 with one minute and five seconds left on the clock.

But controversy erupted in the last minute when Indian skipper Pawan Sehrawat went in for a do-or-die raid.

Sehrawat went into the lobby (out of bound) without a touch. However, Amirhossein Bastami and three other Iranian defenders rushed towards the Indian in an attempt to push him out, leading to confusion and mayhem.

It was unclear whether Sehrawat had been successfully tackled or not and there was also confusion as to which rule was to be applied -- the old one or the new one.

According to the new rule, Sehrawat was out but the old rule deemed Sehrawat and all the Iranians who followed him also out, which would give India four points and Iran one.

With the officials see-sawing between ruling in favour of India and Iran, both sets of players sat on the court in protest when the decision went against them in unprecedented scenes.

After a lot of deliberation, discussion and arguing by both sides, and the match being suspended, the officials ruled it in favour of India and the scoreline read 32-29.

Winners of seven consecutive gold medals at the continental showpiece, the Indian men's team had suffered a shock semifinal loss to Iran at Jakarta five year's ago. Iran had looked the better team as it led 10-6. But the Indians made a thrilling comeback to take a 17-13 lead at half time after effecting two all outs.

Resuming after the lemon break, Sehrawat fetched a bonus point while the Iranians struggled.

The Indians then raced to a five point lead at 24-19. But the defending champions inflicted a timely 'all out' to level the game 25-25 with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.

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