Other Sports

Asian Games 2018: The Indian who won the kabaddi gold for Iran

Iran's women kabaddi team exults after defeating India in the finals at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta on August 24, 2018.

Iran's women kabaddi team exults after defeating India in the finals at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta on August 24, 2018.   | Photo Credit: AP

I wanted to prove I am the best: says coach Shailja Jain

India’s Shailja Jain wanted to prove that she is the best kabaddi coach in the world and she did that with Iran women’s team, albeit at the expense of her own country.

Shailja, who hails from Nashik, joined the Iranian team 18 months ago and since then played a crucial role in their success. “When I visited Iran first time after taking up the job, I said this is my mission, to prove I’m the best coach. And now we have the result,” Shailja said. “Our defence was very tight after the first five minutes, which was crucial. And three of our raiders were excellent.”

After initially struggling to relay her thought process to the Iranian players, Shailja decided to learn the local language.

“Communication was not easy, so I learnt Farsi. Before the match I told the girls ‘don’t sent me back to India without the gold’. Some of them came back and told me ‘madam, we’ve given you what you wanted’,” she said.

“The final was very special for me and the team. After a long time, Iran won a gold. I’m thankful to the federation for showing faith in me.”

Being an Indian, she is obviously disappointed for the team.

“I’m sad India lost. Like any other Indian, I love my country. But I love kabaddi also. Being their coach, I only think of the Iran team. Kabaddi is very popular in India. They all know what kabaddi is about. Everyone watched this match back in Iran,” she said.

Shailja said she didn’t work on the physical aspect of the Iranians, instead her challenge was to create strategies.

“In the seven months, the Iranians learnt tactics and strategy. I didn’t have to work on their fitness as they are supremely fit.”

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 1:17:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/the-indian-who-won-the-kabaddi-gold-for-iran/article24782197.ece

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