Iran is gearing up for the upcoming Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, with a formidable 12-member kabaddi team. Leading the charge for Iran will be star defender Fazel Atrachali and versatile all-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, both of whom are renowned players in India’s Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), having represented the Puneri Paltan team in the previous season.
The Iranian squad also boasts the talents of all-rounder Mohammad Reza Shadlu, who etched his name in PKL history by setting a record for the most tackle points (16) in a single match during the previous season while playing for the Patna Pirates. Additionally, Reza Mirbagheri, who represented the Jaipur Pink Panthers, and Amirhossein Bastami, a player from the Haryana Steelers, are among the other Iranian athletes who have gained experience in India’s prestigious Pro Kabaddi League.
Iran arrives at the Asian Games as the reigning kabaddi champions, having secured the gold medal at Jakarta 2018. In an impressive display of skill and determination, Iran defeated kabaddi powerhouse India in the semi-finals before clinching the gold with a resounding 26-16 victory over the Republic of Korea in the final.
Fazel Atrachali, who will serve as the team’s captain, and Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh were pivotal members of the triumphant Iranian kabaddi team at the 2018 Asian Games. Notably, Atrachali, a 31-year-old veteran, boasts a remarkable record with three Asian Games medals, having won silver at Incheon 2014 and Guangzhou 2010.
In the women’s event, Iran is also the defending champion, having claimed the gold medal at Jakarta 2018 by defeating India in the final. The 12-member Iranian women’s kabaddi team for the Hangzhou games includes six players from the victorious squad of the previous edition. As the competition approaches, all eyes are on Iran’s kabaddi teams, as they aim to continue their dominance on the Asian stage.
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