HYDERABAD: Defending champion Railway women overcame stiff resistance in the first-half to outplay hosts Hyderabad 42-16 in the semifinal of the 53rd Senior National kabaddi championship here on Saturday.
Railways never looked like champion outfit when the rivals restricted their scoring rate thanks to the catching prowess of Meghala, Upendra and raider Swati Singh doing a reasonably good job. Even the stockiest player in the event, Bhakti Kulkarni, could not do anything special and Railways was leading 8-7 at the break.
But in the second session, Railways moved into top gear to keep the opponents at bay and on one occasion Bhakti earned five points, cleaning up the rival court. Giving good support to her was Tejaswani Ban who too picked points by her aggressive display.
Though Mangala Desai tried to check the Railway raiders, she did not get the desired support from the other defenders. Consequently, in the closing stages, Railways had a much more easier outing than expected.
In the other semifinal, Maharashtra defeated Haryana 46-23 after leading 22-16 at the break.
BSNL men enter final
The men's section saw BSNL earn their maiden final appearance in the Nationals when it shocked last time joint-winners Punjab 29-16 after leading 15-5 at the break.
Jasmer and Sukhvir Singh were the star performers for them while Jasbir Singh put up solitary resistance for the losers.
Services defeated Railways 21-11 in the re-match of the semi-final after leading 10-8 at the break. Naveen, Jasvinder Singh were the key players for the winners while Rakesh Kumar and Dharmender put up a good show for the losers.
Earlier, there was a commotion during the semifinal clash between Railways and Services. With the latter leading 26-19 when floodlights went off with just three minutes to go, Railways refused to continue play on technical grounds. The rule also said that if there were to be an interruption of more than 20 minutes, there has to be a re-match. With the organizers failing to get the lights on and Railways reluctant to enter the court, that mandatory time lapsed and the technical director had no option but to order a re-match. A decision that stunned the Services camp for it was clearly the superior outfit at that moment.
Ironically, when the floodlights were on the adjacent courts, where the finals were scheduled later, the organizers were rigid to stick to the rules and preferred to have the match on the same court.