Indian Women’s Kabaddi Team Helped An Iranian Player
Sport is much more than narrow nationalism. Any sportsperson who has represented the country knows what it takes to defy odds and overcome obstacles in the face of still opposition. It’s all about determination and passion.
When we talk about traditional Indian sports, kabaddi is the only one that comes to our mind due to the long-standing history it shares with the country. As creators, Indians have never been shy about stamping their authority on the game.
India has a great and winning tradition in kabaddi. The lifelong dedication and innate talent are the reason why Indians are so good at alternating between ruthless attack and patient defense tactics. The men’s team led by Anup Kumar lifted the third World Cup in Ahmedabad last week after winning the previous two editions in 2003 and 2007.
But sometimes winning a medal or a World Cup is not everything. A couple of years back, the 2014 Asian Games was a witness to that. Captained by Tejaswini Bai, the Indian women’s kabaddi team showed real sportsmanship and a heartwarming gesture.
Iran women were in full sleeved attire and during the match, one of the raiders got her hijab displaced in the middle of a point. Immediately instead of grabbing her, Indian players covered her face and helped place the hijab back. After the match, Tejaswini Bai was quoted saying “We need to respect their religious sentiments. When the hijab fell from her head, we could see her desperation. So it was natural for us to help her.”
Eventually, India got the better of Iran by a margin of 30–21 in Incheon but it was the gesture that made headlines.
In any finals, you play hard to win a match. But there are times when it’s your inner call that tells you what is right. You win the hearts and you win the game too.
The warm-heartedness shown by them could be used as an example for greater sporting cooperation between the countries. Not just that, the players showed sportspersons have the ability to do far more for India-Iran relations than the finest of diplomats.
The 2014 Asian Games feat will be etched in our memories for a very, very long time. So will this story. Because the spirit of the game is of paramount importance rather than winning or losing.