ISLAMABAD - Defending champions Pakistan started their 3rd Asian Kabaddi Championship 2016 Circle Style (2016) campaign on a winning note by routing Iran 47-22 in the inaugural match played at POF Wah Sports Complex on late Monday night.

Federal Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain was the chief guest on the occasion, while POF Wah chairman Lt General Omar, PSB Director General Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, POF Sports Control Board president Dr Aamir Murad, Col (R) Inam Ullah Khan, Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) secretary Rana M Sarwar, other dignitaries and a huge crowd were also present on the occasion.

A total of six teams including Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Afghanistan and hosts Pakistan are taking part in the championship being played on single league basis. The foolproof security arrangements were made for the visiting teams while the spectators, media and others had to go through tough security process. The venue was wonderfully decorated and it was festivity all around.

Sharing his views, chief guest Rana Tanveer Hussain welcomed all the participating teams and hoped they would bring back sweet memories with them. We want to give a clear message to the international community that Pakistan is a safe country for all kinds of sporting events. We will defeat negative propaganda against Pakistan and do our level best to conduct international events here.

“Pakistanis are sports loving nation and we give a lot of respect to international sporting icons. The PKF and POF really deserve appreciation for providing wonderful facilities to all the teams and also conducting such a mega event,” he added.

The first match was played between Pakistan and Iran which the green shirts dominated completely and were never in any sort of trouble. Pakistan was enjoying comfortable 29-12 lead after the end of the first 20 minutes, and they added further 18 points in the second half, while Iran could add further 10 points to finish the match at 47-22. Chisti, Atif Chaudhry and Ali Butt were the outstanding performers for the hosts.

In the other matches of the night, India were given tough fight by minnows Sri Lanka before going down fighting 45-21 while in the third and last match of the night, Afghanistan routed Nepal 40-11. Pakistan will play second match against Sri Lanka on late Tuesday night, while India will take on Afghanistan and Nepal will face Iran challenge.