On the concluding fourteenth day of the Asian Games, India grabbed two more gold medals, both in Kabaddi to finish 8th in the overall medal standing. China was the runaway topper with a whopping 151 golds and an overall tally of 342. It tells about the state of sports in India, which has not been able to produce good competitors in traditional Olympic sporting events. Other Asian nations also fell way behind China with host South Korea ending at second place with just 79 golds; 72 short of China. The third-placed Japan took 47 golds more than 100 behind China. It also tells us the seriousness, with which China pursues its sports program. If anything, it is a lesson for other nations in Asia. Apart from the twin Kabaddi golds, a silver was also added to India’s tally, when hammer through bronze winner Manju Bala was upgraded to silver, when the gold medal winner in the event tested positive on a dope test.
After two golds on day 13, India clinched two more in a sport that largely belongs to them, though other Asian countries are acquiring proficiency as the days go by. India started day 14 with 9 golds and a total of 55 medals but added women’s kabaddi gold in the morning itself. In the 2010 Guangzhou Games, Indian women had defeated Thailand in the final and on Friday, they were defending the gold against Iran, the bronze medalist at Guangzhou. The fact that the Iranians reached the final meant that they have made improvement in their game. As the match began, India secured an early 4-2 lead and kept up the pressure to widen the lead to 12-9. India also scored a ‘lona’ that amounted to two bonus points as the entire Iranian team was declared out. At the halfway mark India led 15-11. India played even better in the second half and managed two more ‘lona’ points and the lead was enhanced to 25-16, with very little time remaining. The Indian women kept up the tempo and finished the match as victors with a score of 31-21 and added the 10th gold to India’s tally.
Two hours after women yielded a great performance in kabaddi, it was the turn of the Indian men. Incidentally, the Indian men were also facing Iran in the gold medal game. Since kabaddi became part of the Asian Games itinerary in 1990, India have always won the gold in each Asian Game since. As the match began, Iran surprised India and pushed them on the back-foot. They led India 7-6 after six minutes of the start. Unprepared for the Iranian assault, India’s defense collapsed and that allowed the Iranians to enhance their lead to 16-7 within 10 minutes. Just when it seemed that Iran could upset them, Indian men combined to reduce the lead by one point to 21-13 at halftime. In the second half, India started strongly and cut the deficit down to just one point so that Iran led 21-20 after four minutes. With 12 minutes remaining in the match, India leveled the score to 24-24 and after another good tackle led Iran 26-24 with 2 minutes left in the match. After a fantastic comeback midway through the game, India finished 27-25 winner over the disappointed Iranians. The men’s kabaddi gold was 11th for India.
After two gold medal wins today in men’s and women’s kabaddi, India finish their Incheon Asian Games 2014 campaign with 57 medals – 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze. In another good news, Manju Bala’s bronze was upgraded to silver in the women’s hammer throw after the gold medal winner tested positive on a doping violation. The original winner Zhang Wenxiu of China was disqualified and stripped of her gold medal as she tested positive for the banned anabolic agent zeranol and its metabolite, used mainly on cattle to gain weight. It was the third consecutive gold for Zhang in Asian Games but the Olympic Council of Asia withdrew her gold medal in the sixth doping violation at the games.
But India’s overall tally fell short of their Guangzhou Asian Games performance, where they had a haul of 65 medals, including 14 golds.