2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Anup Kumar: Coach’s tactics helped us win - News

Anup Kumar: Coach’s tactics helped us win

23 October 2016

India capped off the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in grand fashion, lifting the trophy with a hard-fought, back-to-the-wall victory over formidable Iran. The hosts were trailing by five points going into half-time and came out inspired in the second to swing fortunes in their favour. Ajay Thakur was the man of the moment as it was his raiding prowess that broke the backbone of the Iranians.

India captain Anup Kumar was an elated man at the post-match media interaction and credited his team and coaches for the winning performance. “This is the type of game you expect in a final. I agree the match was tough, but we were ready to face this situation and we emerged winners. We play like champions always and we won today as well.”

“I think experience mattered a lot. I was following the instructions of the coach from the dugout and I passed on the instructions to my players. Our coach knows better and I thank him for having guided us well. He asked us to keep calm and not worry much about the lead. He asked us not to rush, because we made a lot of mistakes when we rushed. I think the coach’s tactics worked and helped us win over Iran,” a gracious Kumar said as he acknowledged the role of head coach Balwan Singh and the rest of the coaching staff.

K. Baskaran, the assistant coach, was also seen encouraging the men in blue during the crucial encounter. "I told the boys not to lose their confidence, (that) we can win this if we stay a little focussed. We are the better team and need to win at any cost. The boys went out and played their hearts out in the second half. For me, all my players performed well. It was an overall team effort and I’m very proud with the way they played today,” he added.

On the question of expecting any rewards from the Indian Government, Baskaran didn’t seem perturbed, “Honours are secondary. Our main target was to win the World Cup and make our nation proud. We are not bothered if the government gives us an award or not; we want to give our best for the nation. We dedicate our win to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Uri attack.”

The captain also singled out Ajay Thakur for special praise saying that the star raider was enjoying his game and that he had full faith in his abilities.

Thakur himself had come into the tournament recovering from some injuries. Did the star raider feel extra pressure because of that? “Injuries are a part of a sportsman’s life. What’s more important is how you cope with the injury to make a comeback. I would like to thank the coach and support staff who motivated and helped me recover from my injury, just in time for the World Cup,” he quipped.

A surprise question was also thrown at Anup Kumar – on any retirement plans post the big victory. The skipper asserted, “Definitely not! I still feel fit and I believe I can play for a few more years. I will continue serving my nation until my body says it’s enough. Right now, I feel fantastic and will look to play at the next World Cup.”

He also appreciated the fan support they’ve received at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. “The crowd was fantastic, as always. It was their support that helped us win. We would like to thank our fans from the bottom of our hearts. It means a lot,” he signed off.

Visit our Photos section to check out visuals from the grand final.