Services, Railways emerge champions

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Mumbai : Services and Indian Railways registered hard-fought victories to bag the men’s and women’s titles respectively in the third Federation Cup Kabaddi tournament here.

In the finals played under floodlights, Services men quelled the late challenge from Karnakata to win 28-25 while the Railways women rode on Pinki Roy’s superb catch of the Himachal Pradesh raider in the final minute to win 26-25.

The champions went home richer by Rs 2,00,000 while the runners-up teams earned a prize purse of Rs 1,00,000.

National champions Himachal Pradesh showed why they were such a difficult side to beat as they staged a late comeback in the final after trailing 16-9 at half time.

Raider Nidhi Sharma (6 points) and defender Sarika (3) led Himachal’s fightback in the second half as they packed off the entire Railways team with five minutes to spare to reduce the deficit.

With pressure mounting, Railways players made many errors and both the teams were locked on 25-25 with a minute to play.

But the experienced Roy kept her nerves to catch Sharma and help her team avenge last month’s loss in the Nationals. Payal Chowdhary and Sonali Singate earned five points each from their raids for the champions.

The men’s final threatened to be a one-sided affair till the half time as Services registered an all-out in the 10th minute to take a 11-2 lead against Karnataka and went into the break leading 15-9.

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