Asian Games: Historic hundredth medal for India as women clinch kabaddi gold

Indian women win gold
Indian players celebrate their triumph. Photo: PTI/Gurinder Osan

Hangzhou: Indian women edged out Chinese Taipei 26-25 in the final to regain kabaddi gold and secure a historic hundredth medal for the country in the Asian Games here on Saturday.

India ended their campaign with 28 gold, 38 silver and 41 bronze for a total of 107 medals to finish fourth overall at Hangzhou.

India had tied with Chinese Taipei in the group stage.

India win kabaddi gold
India's raider Pushpa being tackled by the Chinese Taipei team . Photo: PTI/Gurinder Osan

This was the women's kabaddi team's third title triumph in the continental showpiece, doing one better than its runner-up finish in the last edition of the Games in Indonesia and fulfilling the country's expectations of touching the historic three-figure mark for the first time.

It was a very difficult outing for the Indian women as Chinese Taipei pushed them to the limit in the final, missing out on the top prize by just a solitary point.

India win kabaddi gold
Indian coach has a word with her players. Photo: PTI/Gurinder Osan

The Indian team showed nerves of steel in the last two raids to seal the contest in its favour.

India had a five-point lead going into half-time, courtesy of a super raid from Pooja, who was one of the stars of the intense title showdown that also saw the team's coach being cautioned with a green card. India had won 70 medals in the last edition in Indonesia where the country's athletes won 16 gold, 23 silver and 31 bronze medals to record their best-ever performance.

Rich haul

On the back of a splendid show by the shooters (22) and track and field athletes (29 medals), who contributed 51 medals, India had already surpassed their best-ever show on Wednesday.

The Indian contingent won many surprise medals, the biggest being a women's table tennis team bronze by Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee, who humbled the mighty Chinese pair in the quarterfinals.

Parul Chaudhary's sensational dash in the last 30 metres of the women's 5000m event will also be remembered for a long time as the Meerut runner snatched a gold by edging Japan's Ririka Hironaka in a close finish.

Javelin thrower Kishore Kumar Jena's astonishing 86.77m throw that gave him lead over superstar Neeraj Chopra for a brief period in the men's javelin event was another unforgettable moment.

Later, Chopra won the gold, while Jena finished behind him to settle for a silver medal.

Canoers Arjun Singh and Sunil Singh Salam's historic bronze in the men's double 1000m along with Ram Baboo and Manju Rani's third place finish in the mixed 35km race walk were perfect examples that if athletes refuse to bow down to the hardships life throws, excelling in sports is possible.

(With inputs from PTI)

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