LAHORE                    -               Pakistan defeated defending champions India 43-41 to clinch the Kabaddi World Cup here at the jam-packed Punjab Stadium on Sunday.

The enthralling and exciting final was witnessed by record number of kabaddi enthusiasts at the Punjab Stadium, which has 10,000 sitting capacity, but around 12,000 to 13,000 spectators were present inside the venue while around 3,000 to 4,000 were standing outside, wishing to enter the venue to see the class of titans between the two arch-rivals.

Both the finalists displayed outstanding kabaddi skills and techniques throughout the final and kept on amusing the spectators with every move till the end. The visiting side finished the first half, having 24-18 lead, however, Pakistan made a brave comeback in the second half and remained the persistent and aggressive till the end, which helped them win the historic final against India 43-41. All the Pakistani players especially captain M Irfan and Waqas Butt Shafiq gave out their best against India and steered their team to a title triumph.

Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar graced the final as chief guest while Punjab Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs and Tourism Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti, Punjab Minister for Agriculture Malik Nauman Langrial, Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat, PKF President Shafay Hussain, Secretary Rana Sarwar, Secretary Sports Ehsan Bhutta and Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh and others were also present on the occasion. At the concluding ceremony, chief guest Governor Punjab awarded the winning trophy and PKR 10 million to victorious Pakistan team while handed over PKR 7.5 million and silver medals to runners-up India.

Earlier, Iran played well against Australia and outperformed them by 54-33 to grab the third position. Iran played superbly right from the word go and maintained their supremacy till the end, which helped them win the third place quite comfortably. Iran led the match 30-16 in the first half and won the match 54-33 by the end of the game. Mustafa Saadqi played a key role in Iran’s victory and was also declared the best raider while Ali Raza Safari was named the best stopper as he didn’t allow rivals to get a free hand.

Total nine teams including hosts Pakistan, India, Germany, Azerbaijan, Iran, Canada, Sierra Leone, England and Australia features in the Kabaddi World Cup 2020, which was jointly organised by Punjab government, Sports Board Punjab and Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF). The matches were played at three venues including Punjab Stadium Lahore, Iqbal Cricket Stadium Faisalabad and Zahoor Elahi Stadium Gujrat.

Before the final action, renowned singer Ibrab-ul-Haq also amused the spectators with his heart-warming songs, which compelled the crowd to enjoy fully by dancing and raising slogans for their beloved country ‘Pakistan Zindaabad’. The security arrangements were also very satisfactory as the crowd thronged the venue in a well-managed way as they enjoyed the each and every moment of the final.