Dominance and Challenges: India’s Kabaddi Journey at the Asian Games
Kabaddi, a sport deeply rooted in India’s history, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Combining physical strength, agility, and strategy, it provides an engaging spectacle for audiences worldwide. With a history dating back 4000 years, kabaddi’s journey to international recognition has been remarkable.
Kabaddi first garnered international attention when it was featured as an exhibition sport prior to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Its popularity soared in Asia, leading to its inclusion as a demonstration sport at the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982.
However, it wasn’t until the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, China, that kabaddi found a permanent spot in the Asian Games program. Initially, it was exclusively a men’s competition, but the women’s event was introduced in 2010.
**Indian Dominance in Men’s Kabaddi**
From the very beginning, the Indian men’s kabaddi team established its dominance. In 1990, six teams competed in a round-robin format, with India emerging undefeated to claim the gold medal. This format continued until 2002, during which India remained undefeated, securing all the gold medals.
In 2006, a knockout round was introduced after the round-robin league. However, this change made no difference as India continued their unbeaten streak, clinching their fifth-straight gold medal.
**Evolution of Format**
From 2010 onwards, both men’s and women’s kabaddi competitions adopted a group-stage followed by knockout format. India’s teams maintained their supremacy, going unbeaten in the 2010 and 2014 editions, securing gold medals.
**Challenges Faced in 2018**
India’s golden run faced a formidable challenge in 2018. The Indian men’s team suffered its first-ever loss, falling to South Korea in the group stages. Despite finishing second in Group A, they settled for bronze after losing to Iran in the semi-finals.
The Indian women’s team had a more promising run, winning all their group matches. However, they faced an unexpected defeat at the hands of Iran in the final, marking their first-ever loss at the Asian Games.
As kabaddi returns to the Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022, India is eager to regain its lost crown and reaffirm its dominance on the international stage.
**Asian Games Kabaddi Winners**
– 1990: India (Gold), Bangladesh (Silver), Pakistan (Bronze)
– 1994: India (Gold), Bangladesh (Silver), Pakistan (Bronze)
– 1998: India (Gold), Pakistan (Silver), Bangladesh (Bronze)
– 2002: India (Gold), Bangladesh (Silver), Pakistan (Bronze)
– 2006: India (Gold), Pakistan (Silver), Bangladesh (Bronze)
– 2010: India (Gold), Iran (Silver), Pakistan, Japan (Bronze)
– 2014: India (Gold), Iran (Silver), South Korea, Pakistan (Bronze)
– 2018: Iran (Gold), South Korea (Silver), Pakistan, India (Bronze)
– 2010: India (Gold), Thailand (Silver), Bangladesh, Iran (Bronze)
– 2014: India (Gold), Iran (Silver), Thailand, Bangladesh (Bronze)
– 2018: Iran (Gold), India (Silver), Chinese Taipei, Thailand (Bronze)