Asian Games 2018: Rishank Devadiga believes Iran can give tough competition to India in Asiad kabaddi event
'In the Asian Games, all teams come well prepared. You cant judge the teams on the basis of their performance in the Dubai Masters, because Iran had sent their junior players, but the main team will represent them in the Asian Games,' Devadiga said.
Mumbai: Star raider Rishank Devadiga expects Iran to give reigning champions India a run for their money in the men's kabaddi competition at the upcoming Asian Games.
According to him, even teams like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Korea will not be pushovers in a sport largely dominated by India.
"In the Asian Games, all teams come well prepared. You cant judge the teams on the basis of their performance in the Dubai Masters, because Iran had sent their junior players, but the main team will represent them in the Asian Games," Devadiga told PTI.
"The teams from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are good. Even the South Korean team is good. These teams can give us good competition in the Asian Games.
"They will come to the Games after doing their analysis. I cannot say, but Iran team can give a good competition to India," he remarked.
The kabaddi star was speaking after the #RaidForGold, an initiative by Mashal Sports Pvt Ltd, was launched to support the Indian kabaddi team at the Asian Games to be hosted by Indonesia from August 18 to September 2.
Prodded further on why Iran could pose a tough challenge, Devadiga said, "Iran have brought up a lot of changes to their game in the past years. Indian players are skillful and technically (sound).
"They (Iran) have presently adapted to this technique and made changes (in style of play). Their players also play in the Pro Kabaddi League. This time their team will be good and will be a good competition for India and even we are ready for it."
India clinched the title in the recently held Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 tournament by defeating Iran in the final.
India are aiming for their consecutive 8th gold at the continental Games and, according to Devadiga, the team will go to the event aiming to wrap up yet another gold medal and establish their superiority once again.
"In our minds, the thing is to play well and win matches. We are going to the Asian Games and we should go with the thinking that we will bag the gold (medal).
"So the Indian team has gone with this very mindset and in future also we will play likewise," the 26-year-old attacker added.
He said the tournament in Dubai showed the players were in good form and that will help the team in the Asian Games.
"The preparation is going good because we had the fitness camp twice. We went to Dubai for the Dubai Masters (tournament) and all players are fit and in form.
"This is an advantage for us. May be our camp for the Asian Games will start next week and the focus will be on these upcoming Games," he signed off.
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