India Humbles Pakistan in Gopalpura

Posted on November 9, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Sports
Total Views: 70830

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 responses to “India Humbles Pakistan in Gopalpura”

  1. bonobashi says:


    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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  4. Babar says:

    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.

  5. Umar Shah says:

    Kabaddi Kabaddi Kabaddi!

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