"We are confident of winning the trophy."
The Men’s Kabaddi World Cup final took place on Saturday, 15th December 2012 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, Punjab, India.
For the third consecutive time, India were the victors winning Pakistan comfortably with a score of 59 versus Pakistan’s 22.
The tournament started on 1st December 2012 and was played at 13 venues across Punjab including, Yadvindra Public School Stadium (Patiala), Nehru Stadium (Rupnagar), Sports Stadium (Chohla Sahib, Tarn Taran), Government College Stadium (Gurdaspur), Sports Stadium (Bathinda) and Guru Gobind Singh Stadium (Jalandhar).
The 16 teams that particpated were Afghanistan, Argentina, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Norway, Pakistan, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, United States and New Zealand.
The attendance of fans for the final was so overwhelming such that the overcrowded stadium needed police to do a lathi charge to get the crowds under control especially around gates 5 and 7 of the stadium.
Entertainment before the match started was provided by Bollywood singer Sukhwinder Singh, Punjabi singer Raja Bath who promoted an anti-drugs message and a dazzling fire show. Poet Padmashree Surjit Pattar won hearts with his poem on strengthening Indo-Pak relations. The host for the game was Punjaban star Satwinder Satti who encouraged everyone to promote the game.
The final ceremony featured Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, and Punjabi singer Diljit Dosanjh together with many other performances.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met the players and formally inaugurated the match. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Pakistan Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Masood Ahmed, Pakistan Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullha and Pakistan MP Sardar Malik also interacted with the players.
With an intent to promote the game as much as possible, Sukhbir Singh Badal announced an increase in the prize money for the Women’s Kabbadi World Cup from Rs.51 lakh to Rs.1 crore from next year.
India and Pakistan made it to the final with relative ease in the tournament. In the first semi-final, Pakistan defeated Canada scoring a reputable 53-27 and then in the second, India thrashed Iran 72-23.
Incidentally, Canada had beaten Pakistan in the semis in the 2011 Men’s Kabbadi World Cup.
The 2012 final gave India the chance to have revenge after they lost to Pakistan in the 2012 Asian Kabaddi Championship in Pakistan, and conversely, it gave Pakistan the opportunity to beat India for the first time on Indian soil.
Before, the game, Indian captain Sukhbir Singh Sarawan said: “We are confident of winning the trophy. We have prepared well for the World Cup.”
Pakistan captain and stopper Javed said: “We have come to India well prepared. We have a good attacking and strong defence (stoppers) line. We have learnt from the past mistakes and we are confident that we will not repeat them. During the coaching camp in Islamabad, we had work on our shortcomings. We now have a balanced and strong team.”
However, Pakistan’s strategy was not strong enough as India took the game from the start and gained an initial lead of 9-0.
Pakistan then stepped up and claimed some points back. But by the end of the first half the score was India 34 and Pakistan 9, showing India’s domination of the game in Punjab.
India’s raider Gagandeep Singh Gaggi Kheeranwali scored 10 points, Gurlal Ghanaur scored 8, Manminder Singh Sran score 8 and Sukhbir Sarawan took 7 points. Whereas India’s stoppers Ekam Hathur, Balbir Pala and Gurwinder Kahlwan scored 10, 7 and 4 points respectively.
Pakistan’s raider Safeeq Butt scored 5 points and Mohammad Imran scored 3 points while the Pakistani stopper Sujad Gujjar scored 5 points.
It was a rewarding moment for Gagandeep Singh Gaggi Kheeranwali and Eakam Hathur as they both were awarded Preet Tractors as a prize after being nominated as the Best Raider and Best Stopper in the final of the World Kabaddi tournament.
For the Indian women’s team, Priyanka Devi was given the title of the Best Raider and Jatinder Kaur was declared Best Stopper. Both the female players were awarded a Honda motor cycle each worth Rs.55,000.
For winning the World Cup title in Kabaddi, India got prize money worth Rs.2 crore for winning and Pakistan took home Rs.1 crore. Canada who came third in the tournament were awarded Rs.51 Lakh.
Before the commencement of the final match between India and Pakistan, the chief minister honoured Olympians Baljeet Dhillon, Varinder Singh, Sanjeev Kumar (all hockey players), Manjeet Kaur and Brigadier Labh Singh (both athletes), Dronachariya Awardee Sukhchain Cheema and Arjuna Awardee Balwinder Singh Fidda.
The domination of the game gave India an easy win over Pakistan for the Kabaddi final of 2012. Kabaddi is now being recognised more and more as a well-known contact sport and hopefully, events like these will promote this game further for it to be played formally in other countries.