What led to an hour-long interruption in the controversial kabaddi final between India and Iran? | spcilvly

The Kabaddi gold medal showdown between India and Iran at the 2023 Asian Games took an unexpected turn when a controversial raid involving Indian captain Pawan Sehrawat led to a temporary suspension of the match. In the final moments of a highly charged final, the situation became so tense that the final was suspended for over an hour, with the referee and match officials apparently at sea with constant protests from both sides. The drama began with less than 90 seconds left on the clock and the score was 28-28, as Pawan Sehrawat embarked on a do-or-die raid.

Drama ensued in men's kabaddi final at Asian Games (X)
Drama ensued in men’s kabaddi final at Asian Games (X)

During his raid, Pawan ventured outside the confines of the concourse without making contact with any Iranian defenders. His entry into the lobby caused confusion as four Iranian defenders attempted to crush him. Initially, Iran received a point because Pawan walked off the field, but the Indian team vehemently protested this decision. Subsequently, a review was carried out involving both the television umpires and the on-field umpire, which ultimately ruled in favor of India. The decision awarded four points to India and one to Iran. The Iranian team then reacted strongly to this ruling, causing a tense situation on the field.

This turn of events injected a significant dose of controversy and drama into the already intense gold medal match between the two powerful Kabaddi teams.


IKF Rule (Rule 28 of the IKF rule book): If a defender or defenders who have touched the ground outside the boundary (per rule 5), hold an attacker, the attacker will be declared NOT OUT. Only the defender or defenders who have gone out of bounds will be declared out.

PKL rule: If a raider enters the lobby, the raid ends there and the raider is eliminated. One point awarded to the defending team unless one of their defenders also goes off the mat.

What finally happened?

The referee found himself in a perplexing situation following Iran’s protests, when he returned to the judge’s desk to review additional replays of the controversial raid. Despite these repeated reviews, there was still uncertainty about which standard should apply. The referees were seen walking around the field, trying to figure out the situation, while the players remained on the mat.

India coach E Bhaskaran questioned why the umpire changed the decision after India’s review if the new rule was actually being applied. After further deliberations, officials came back with a decision that favored Iran once again. The Indian coach then ordered his players to stop playing and sit on the mat in protest. The situation took an ugly turn when Pawan and the entire Indian bench confronted the umpires. More officials were summoned and the general secretary of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India reviewed the replays and stated that one point should be awarded to each team. However, this decision was once again met with fervent protests from the Indian side.

In a disconcerting turn of events, the umpires appeared to change their stance again and awarded three points to India. This decision led the Iranian team to protest and protest by sitting on the mat. The drama continued until the umpires finally ruled in India’s favor and play resumed. After two raids and another minute of play, India clinched its eighth gold medal in men’s kabaddi at the Asian Games.

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