South Korea stunned favorites India on Friday, pulling off a thrilling 34-32 win in the opening match of the Kabaddi World Cup before shocked home fans.
India raced to an early lead in the combative contact sport that mixes tag and wrestling, but South Korea rallied to overpower the defending champions.
The packed stadium was stunned into silence as India failed to hold on to their narrow three-point lead in the closing minutes of the match.
“Our raiders weren’t at their best today. We also made some mistakes at the end and that proved crucial, but not everything is lost yet, India captain Anup Kumar said after the game.
“We will get back into the competition and correct our mistakes,” he said.
In the other game on Friday, Iran easily accounted for the US, winning 52-15.
The two-week event which sees 12 teams lock horns with each other is being held the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.
Kabaddi features two seven-member teams facing off on a tennis court-sized pitch.
A “raider” from each team has to dash into the rival half and touch players from the opposing team without being tackled before escaping back to safety on their side of the court.
The game is played in about 35 countries, but India has dominated the sport, winning all seven gold medals at the Asian Games since it was introduced in 1990.
Pakistan, another strong team, were barred from the ongoing competition due to a spike in tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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