INCHEON, Oct 3 (IANS): The Indian medal count swelled for the last time here as their men's and women's kabaddi teams clinched golds in their respective finals to end
the country's campaign at the 2014 Asian Games Friday.
Later in a surprise, Manju Bala's hammer throw bronze, won Sep 28, was upgraded to silver after China's Zhang Wenxiu was stripped of the gold after failing a
pre-competition dope test.
With the two golds, India jumped a place to conclude in eighth position in the standings with 57 medals - 11 golds, 10 silvers and 36 bronzes - eight shy of the 2010
India maintained their dominance in kabaddi with both the men's and women's teams retaining their gold medals at the Songdo Global University Gymnasium.
The men's team, who have won every single gold since the sport was introduced in 1990 Beijing, staged a late comeback to edge out Iran 27-25 while the women's team won
the yellow metal for the second consecutive time also beating Iran 31-21.
The men's team, complacent for most of the match, were given a major scare by the supremely athletic and agile Iranians. But the five-time World Champions utilised
their experience to wriggle out of tough situations.
Iran, silver medallist four years ago, took advantage of India's initial laxness to take a 16-7 lead within 14 minutes. The defending champions reduced the deficit
through skipper Rakesh who won three points individually.
But Iran, aided by two lona points raced to an eight-point lead in the 20th minute (21-13). They ousted 18 Indians in the first half, in comparison to 11 by their
opponents, and were on the verge of notching one of the biggest upset of the Games.
But India, aided by smart strategic changes, got their act together in the second half and equalised within five minutes. They rested veteran defenders Gautam and
Gurpreet and all-rounder Manjeet and fielded youngsters Subramaniam Rajguru, Surjeet Kumar and Nitin Madane that livened up the team.
The defending champions then suffered a big setback when Rakesh got injured and was forced out of the next eight minutes of action, allowing Iran to lead 24-21. But
India used all their experience to bundle out three Iranians while raider Jasvir collected two points to steal victory.
Earlier, the women's team defended the top prize they won in 2010, when women's kabaddi was introduced at the Asiad, and similar to the men's final, Iran posed a stiff
Following a close start, India surged to a 15-11 lead in the first half with the Indian defence effecting 13 outs which included two lona points. The two-time World
Champions extended their supremacy in the second session with the defenders registering 14 outs and two more lona points to confirm top spot.
Much later, Manju's hammer throw bronze was upgraded to silver after Zhang was stripped of the gold. A sample taken from Zhang Sep 26 was found to contain banned
substances Zeranol and its metabolite.
"The competitor has been disqualified from the competition as well as these Games and as such her accreditation cancelled, and gold medal was withdrawn," said an
Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) statement.
Zhang set a new Asiad record with a farthest throw of 77.33 metres which earned her the gold. Her compatriot Wang Zheng, who threw a best of 74.16m, will now be
awarded the yellow metal while Manju's throw of 60.47m will upgrade her bronze to a silver. Japan's Aya Masumi, who finished fourth with a throw of 59.84m, will be
awarded the bronze.
The Indian men's volleyball team finished fifth, out of 16 participants, after defeating Qatar 3-2 in a 5th-6th position playoff at the Songnim Gymnasium. India won
the contest 25-21, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-10 in an hour and 47 minutes.
In women's taekwondo quarter-finals, India's Maria Margerette Regi and Shaloo Raikwar lost their respective bouts at the Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium.
While Maria (+73kg) was thrashed 1-15 by China's Li Donghua, Shaloo put up a strong fight against Kuwait's Alfahad Abrar, who registered a 3-3 win by superiority.