2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Thailand win match, Japan win hearts in nail-biter - News

Thailand win match, Japan win hearts in nail-biter

20 October 2016

Thailand made history by defeating Japan, 37-33, in the last match of the group stages and qualifying for the semi-finals of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. Despite a head-to-head contest, Thailand took a last minute lead and nailed an all-important match. There was absolutely no doubt that it was going to be a do-or-die fixture for Thailand when they faced Japan who trailed them by a mere one point. There was also the matter of Kenya trying to sneak in ahead of both teams with some mathematical magic had Japan thumped Thailand. In the end, Thailand finished first in Group B, ahead of contenders Iran, though with the same points. Both, of course, are now through to the final four of the competition.

After the see-saw of a match, captains Khomsan Thongkham (Thailand) and Masayuki Shimokawa (Japan) spoke to the media with mixed emotions. 

For Shimokawa, it was bittersweet and the match couldn’t have been any closer. “We played our hearts out today, but we didn’t win. We are very sad but proud at the same time for putting out a great effort. We might’ve lost, but we’ve won a lot of hearts with our performance,” he expressed.

At the other end was Thongkham who has been leading his team by example since the start of this tournament.

“We played really well today and it was a really good fight by the boys. I admit we got off to a slow start, but we picked up and we didn’t give up till the last minute,” said the overjoyed skipper. He further added, “Iran is a strong team like India; we made a lot of mistakes in that game (against Iran). We have worked on those areas and will look to put up a strong fight against India (in the semis).”

Thailand will now play hosts and title favourites India on October 21 in the second semi-final of the day at The Arena in Ahmedabad. Don’t forget to catch the live coverage on the Star network and hotstar.