Jakarta: India’s men’s kabaddi team hit a new low on Thursday when they missed out on Asian Games gold for the first time following their second defeat in a week.
The seven-time champions, who had never lost in the tournament until Monday’s defeat to South Korea, slumped 27-18 to Iran in the semi-finals to finish with a bronze medal.
Until this week, India had only ever lost once before in the home-grown, breath-holding sport, after they went down to South Korea at the 2016 World Cup.
India are now relying on their women’s team, the two-time reigning champions, to defend national honour in their final against Iran.
Kabaddi, an ancient sport rooted in Indian mythology, made its Asian Games debut at the 1990 edition in Beijing.
The game requires yoga-like breathing skills as two seven-player teams send a raider into enemy territory to tag an opponent before returning to safety, all on one breath.