It was the final match of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. At halftime, India fell behind Iran. In the second half of the match, Manjeet Chillar was dismissed and Iran’s lead increased to 19-13. Amid fears that India’s tradition of securing victory in kabaddi would be shattered, Ajay Thakur dismissed Fazal and Meraj Sheikh in a single raid. This raid restored the confidence of the Indian team. After sending all the Irani players on bench one by one, India took a 24-21 lead in the 30th minute of the match by scoring an all out. The defence, which was weak in the first half of the match, did well in the second half to give India the lead and India won the World Cup.
The Indian team was appreciated all over the country. But one thing limited India’s joy of victory. The Indian team that won the Kabaddi World Cup was awarded only Rs 10 lakh. India had sent a team of 14 players to the tournament. That meant excluding the team’s coach and other staff, each player would have received only Rs 71,428. The World Cup-winning team receiving this small amount as prize money was a shame.
When Indian fans came to know about it, they expressed their displeasure on social media. India’s star player Ajay Thakur also expressed his displeasure over the prize money. Ajay had said that despite winning the Kabaddi World Cup, it was surprising that neither the central government nor the state governments gave any financial rewards to the players. On the one hand, while the Olympic medalists are getting financial rewards, giving a total of Rs 10 lakh to the Kabaddi World Cup winners all undermines the confidence of the athletes.
There was a lot of criticism on social media about the prize money given to the kabaddi team. The team was later felicitated by the then Sports Minister Vijay Goel at his residence. At the same event, he had announced that Rs 10 lakh would be given to each player and coaches and other staff would also be given financial prizes.