Kabaddi assured of medals

DHAKA: Nepali teams are set to return home with two kabaddi bronze medals for the first time since the event was included in the second SAF Games here in 1985. While Women’s team were assured of the medal even before they played their first match, the men’s team made sure they, too, return home with heads held high when they beat the last placed Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Women’s team was assured the bronze as there were only four teams in fray. As there will be no third place playoff, both third and fourth placed teams will share the bronze medal. Women’s team, who ended their campaign on Tuesday, won the bronze despite losing all three matches.

On Wednesday, Nepal lost to Pakistan 44-16 to finish fourth in the five-team men’s event. Nepal conceded 22 points each in either half while earning two and 14 points themselves during the same period. “Our players went for offensive from the onset and conceded points inviting pressure,” said coach Bimal Pokharel. Pokharel said that Pakistan were beatable but with hardly any infrastructure in the discipline, standard of the Nepali team was declining. “We have defeated the same opponent in the eighth SAF Games and there was no reason to believe we could not have beaten them,” added the coach.

“We didn’t have a minimum facility — the mat — to play. We practiced on soil and will have to compete in the mats in the international tournaments,” said Pokharel adding that they would have defeated Bangladesh in the first match but his players found extremely difficult to adjust themselves in the match. “Most importantly, there is hardly any domestic competition. So we can’t judge the standard of our players,” rued the coach for lacking not only the domestic but also the international exposure.