New Delhi, 6 October: Seven-time champion India overran Japan 56-30 to set up a semi-final clash with Pakistan in the Men's Kabaddi Tournament of the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Thursday.
India with four wins out of as many matches remained unbeaten in the Group. Chinese Taipei came second with three wins and a loss against India. Bangladesh finished third with two wins while Thailand registered their only win against Japan, who ended up with a wooden spoon with four losses.
India will face two-time silver medalists Pakistan in the semi-finals, Chinese Taipei run into defending champions Iran. The men’s semi-finals in kabaddi will be played on Friday at the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre. The losing semi-finalists will also be awarded bronze medals.
Vice-captain Sunil Kumar and raider Aslam Inamdar were included in the Indian starting seven in place of captain Pawan Sehrawat and Naveen Kumar. While Sunil Kumar made an impact through his blocks in defence, Aslam contributed with swift raids as India inflicted two all-outs in the first 10 minutes.
The third all-out followed soon and India kept adding to their lead rapidly. The first half ended with India ahead by 24 points at 35-11.
Japan amped up the intensity after the break and earned 19 points. However, India inflicted two more all-outs on Japan and bagged the contest with a margin of 26 points.
Iran, who beat India in the semi-finals at Jakarta 2018, were the only team unbeaten in the group stage. The men’s kabaddi final will be played on Saturday.