India Humbles Pakistan in Gopalpura

Posted on November 9, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Sports
Total Views: 41438


Adil Najam

Here are a few things about Pakistan’s recent sports performance that I did not know. Maybe you did not either. The Pakistan Kabaddi team is currently on a five (some say six) Test tour of India. In the second (some say third) match of the series, held in Gopalpura, the Indian Kabadi team defeated Pakistan by an undisclosed score.

By the way, I also did not know that there was such a thing as the “Asian Beach Games”, that these were held a few weeks ago in Bali, Indonesia, or that they also featured Women’s Kabaddi (in which Pakistan did not participate, India won a gold and Thailand bagged the silver medal)!

Once I discovered all of the above, I also learnt that two weeks ago the Pakistan men’s Kabaddi team had won the silver medal in the Asian Beach Games, losing 37-32  to India. India is clearly the better Kabaddi team, as The News reported:

Interestingly, in all the previous finals at the Asian Games in Qatar, Asian Indoor Games at Macau and now in Bali, Pakistan have lost to India in all these matches and it was India’s fourth title which they won in a row in the past two years.

I happen to be a bit of a Kabaddi fan and when the South Asian Federation (SAF) games were held in Islamabad in 1989 I even became a bit of an expert in Kabaddi rules. But all of that for another time. Suffice to say, I think that despite its reputation it is quite an elegant game and much like America football, it is a game of strategy more than of strength, which is really where its elegance comes from. I think the game has great potential, maybe even as an international sport one day. I think it should be propagated and encouraged systematically across South Asia and beyond. Some will dispute that assessment, and so be it.

My point right now is that I started writing this post because I saw these pictures and thought they were worth sharing. Then I tried to find out more about the matches and found that there was very little to find out. I found a report saying that India had won the Gopalpura match in an Indian news source, but no details and not even the score. Could not find any mention in any of the Pakistani newspapers on the net. I may well be wrong, so please do fill me in.

I found a report in The Hindu saying that the series was of Five Tests (November 5: First Test at Mansoorpur, Mukerian; November 9: Second Test at Gopalpura, Majitha; November 10: Third Test at Ludhiana; November 12: Fourth Test at Muktsar; November 13: Exhibition match at Nakodar; November 14: Fifth Test at Bathinda). But The News reported a six-match series (November 5: Hoshiarpur, November 9: Amritsar, November 10: Ludhiana, November 12: Maksar, November 13: Jallundhar, November 14: Bhatanda). I can understand some of teh confusion, but then it got more confusing becase the NDTV report of this Gopalpura match says that it is the “third” match and then goes on in the next sentence to also say that the “third match” would be played in Ludhiana tomorrow.

Sloppy journalism happens everywhere and one is used enough to it to give journalists the benefit of the doubt. And it is not as if this is the top story of the day in either country. But it does irk me that I cannot seem to find out what happened in the first two matches. I used to be a sports reporter long ago and I know that first thing you do when writing about any series in any sports is to say what the series score is. In this case I cannot find either the match score nor the series score.

So what, if I cannot, you say. The world has bigger problems.

Indeed it does. But all of the above is symptomatic of the disdain, disrespect and disregard for things that are our own. Maybe those who win medals (for India and for Pakistan) on Indonesian beaches – even if in Kabaddi – deserve a little more respect than this.

20 Comments on “India Humbles Pakistan in Gopalpura”

  1. ASAD says:
    November 9th, 2008 11:51 pm

    “Asian Beach Games” and a Pakistan team wins a medal in them!


    I am still digesting that one!

  2. jawad says:
    November 10th, 2008 3:14 am

    I have a somewhat unrelated story about Pakistani sports journalism. I watched the semi final of major world squash tournament in Lahore, a couple of years ago. I was hard fought and somewhat nasty match. The ref called a stroke against Shahid Zaman for intentionally hitting Khayal Khan. Incredibly Shahid did it again, and the ref called the game against him. I have seen a lot of top level squash and never seen a conduct game at this level. In the end Shahid won against a tough but much lower ranked Khayal.

    I saw press photographers at the game, but no one taking notes. The next day there were full match report in many local papers, and none mentioned the incredible events. I am pretty sure that reporters did not watch the match, and wrote their reports from the scorecard or press release.

  3. November 10th, 2008 3:32 am

    Bashir Bhola Bhala , Rustam-e-Pakistan was defeated a month ago when Indian team came to Pakistan.

  4. Aqil Sajjad says:
    November 10th, 2008 4:30 am

    Isn’t the title a bit too cosmic?
    It’s just a kabadi match after all

  5. Farhan Qureshi says:
    November 10th, 2008 9:45 am

    Kabaddi or American football as “elegant” is a bit of a stretch, but I do agree that the game as a lot of potential regionally and even internationally. It should be promoted and its players should be given respect. I also got to appreciate it in my teens and it is really a game of strategy as Adil says.

  6. Justin says:
    November 10th, 2008 12:01 pm

    I don’t know much about this sport except what I just read on Wikipedia, but the pictures are quite spectacular.

  7. Syed Abdul Basit says:
    November 10th, 2008 4:39 pm

    Regarding asian beach games, Pakistan won two gold medals which is a great performance. Congrats to Pakistan. We won more than eight medals overall.

  8. an indian says:
    November 10th, 2008 10:43 pm

    I think our 2 countries should make an effort to include Kabbadi in Olympics :)
    Then, we can see quite a few Olympic medals against our countries :) :)

    BTW, as per Twiki, “Kabaddi will be a demonstration sport during Commonwealth Games 2010 at New Delhi”

  9. November 10th, 2008 11:26 pm

    All pictures are beautiful.

  10. Umar says:
    November 11th, 2008 7:56 am

    On a more serious note, the Indians just defeated the Aussies in cricket and despite Ganguly and Kumble retiring and Dravid possibly on the way out too, they have a formidable side now… we may lead the head to head at the moment (12 tests to 9, 68 ODIs to 45) but for how long? They have even discovered pacers who bowl in excess of 90mph and reverse swing the ball…

    On the other side, things have never been so dismal for our cricket… even if one were to ignore the fact that we can’t get any cricket, we hardly have a team… the best batsman has left for the ICL, the PCB head is blissfully out of touch with reality, the coach is a throwback to the early 90s, the best bowler is banned for drug use, the seniors are unhappy with the captain, the captain cannot justify his place in either squad, the wicketkeeper has lost form woefully, and the list goes on…

    Even more worrisome is the fact that there don’t seem to be any players of note in the pipeline… what is most deplorable is the sheer lack of pace in any of the new quicks…

    I blame it all on going against our very cricketing nature… forget about polishing the diamonds-in-the-rough strewn across the streets in Pakistan, forget about teaching them about nutrition and let them grow up on mom’s cooking and street food, forget about giving them English lessons, forget about letting them model themselves on Australian fast bowlers or Indian batsmen… just let them be, like in the 80s and 90s… they may have been indisciplined and unpredictable, but our teams were a sight for sore eyes… I for one long for those days and dread the coming ten years or so…

  11. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    November 11th, 2008 8:33 am

    @ the shamful defeats of Pakistani sportives
    to Indians, just the opposite in the past, is due

    to the trecherous attitude of pro-Indian journalists,

    cultural inferiority complexed parasites

    soldout intellectuals and corrupt politicians.

    The traitors discharge only defeat for Pakistan.

    They should be looked after.

  12. Tehseen says:
    November 11th, 2008 10:02 am

    Umar, why is cricket more serious than kabaddi!

  13. Adnan says:
    November 11th, 2008 10:38 am

    Mr. Rafay Kashmiri, we have seen plenty of crazy comments from you but none more crazy than this one!

    Only shows your own warped mind and frustration and the dellusions you obviously live in.

    Yes, you must be right, its the pro-Indian journalists that made our Kabaddi team loose. Didn’t you say you lived in Europe. Thank God you are away from Pakistan! Maybe you can try moving to a different planet now!

  14. Umar says:
    November 11th, 2008 11:09 am


    I take my words back… I should have written “on an equally serious note…”


  15. libertarian says:
    November 11th, 2008 2:19 pm

    But all of the above is symptomatic of the disdain, disrespect and disregard for things that are our own.

    Indeed. Something that started in the subcontinent cannot obviously be a serious sport! High time we shelved our tired colonial mindsets and took pride in what we do.

    To the folks who would call kabaddi contrived, you only need to get into American football to learn the meaning of the word. That American football generates billions of dollars justifies its legitimacy regardless of its intrinsic merits.

  16. Umar Shah says:
    November 14th, 2008 1:13 am

    Kabaddi Kabaddi Kabaddi!

  17. Babar says:
    November 17th, 2008 1:35 am

    The reason india always kick our ass in kabaddi is that we do not play the same style as is played in international competetions ( different rules) so we dont have any practice. Personaly I think our style is much better and a measure of strength as it involves one on one competetion.

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    November 17th, 2008 9:49 pm

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    April 6th, 2009 5:35 pm

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  20. bonobashi says:
    April 6th, 2009 7:05 pm


    You have put your finger on two of our failings on the sub-continent: inability to keep up with the rest of the world, and inability to play international sports politics.

    Look at field hockey. When Pakistan and India dominated field hockey, the Europeans got together, packed the rules committees, and changed to Astro-turf, with its support for the European long-hitting style, with results which are clear for all to see. Even now, if South Asian hockey teams break away from the pack from time to time, it is because of their natural flair, which is almost irrepressible, no matter how often the others stay up late at night fixing the rules.

    You also know that the chess rules we play by were slightly different from international chess rules. Finally, it took the establishment of tournaments throughout the country, supported actively by the Russians, to bring about an Anand.

    I agree with you that the kabaddi variant in Pakistan-India is a more manly variant. For the sake of competition, however, we have to make hard choices. Bare-knuckle boxing was the norm; everybody boxes Queensberry rules now. Time for change!

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