TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Iranian women’s kabaddi team sharpens skills under leadership of the Indian coach Shailaja Jain in India to defend Asian Games title.
– Sports news –
Team Melli Banovan has held its training camp at the Dharavi Sports Complex in Mumbai.
Jain has been working with Iran women’s team for the last seven years, with her efforts bearing fruit in 2018 when she guided the team to its historic gold medal win in the Asian Games.
Ever since Iran won gold at the Asian Games in Jakarta five years ago, this side hasn’t featured in international tournaments and ever since the COVID-19 outbreak three years ago, there haven’t been any exposure tours either. This Mumbai trip, therefore, is part of its preparation for the upcoming Asian Games, sportstar.thehindu.com reported.
The lack of practice threatens to put its Asian title defense in jeopardy, but the women aren’t losing hope.
“Over the last five years, we haven’t had any matches or practice. So, as we gear up for yet another Asian Games, it is hard for us to aim for another gold medal because every other country has had proper practice and matches, whereas we haven’t had any,” Ghazal Khalaj, one of the members of Iran said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down, many members of the Iranian side did not know what to do next. With no training, and no hopes of featuring in competitions, uncertainty loomed large, but the Iranian women dream of winning another gold medal in China.
“We have always been dreaming of another gold medal,” Iran player Zahra Astaraki says, as two of her namesakes – Zahra Karimi and Zahra Abbasi – nod in agreement.