PALEMBANG: India on Monday assured itself of a maiden Asian Games medal in Sepaktakraw by progressing to the semifinals with a win over Iran.
India defeated Iran 21-16, 19-21, 21-17 in the first match to make a winning start to their campaign.
They, however, lost to Indonesia 0-3 in the second match of the day in Men’s Team Regu (team competition) Preliminary Group B but advanced to the last-four stage and be guaranteed of at least a bronze.
India will face defending champions Thailand on Tuesday.
“We created history in the 18th Asian Games. I am feeling very happy this moment to be a member of the team. I am very proud of my government and Sepaktakraw federation of India for their full support during the training,” Indian team member Kh. Niken Singh said after the match.
Another India player Harish Kumar said: “We are confident. This Indian team can beat Thailand tomorrow and advance to the finals.”
Sepaktakraw is a volleyball-style sport in which players use their feet, head, knees and chest to hit the ball across the net. They are not allowed to use their hands.
There are six teams in the Asiad competition with Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea clubbed in Group A, while India were drawn with Iran and Indonesia in group B.
India’s win over Iran ensured their entry into the semifinals on Tuesday. The other semifinalists are Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
The semifinalists are assured of a bronze.
“It is a historic performance by India. It is the first time that India has won a medal in Sepaktakraw in the Asian Games,” Sepaktakraw Federation of India secretary general Yogendra Singh Dahiya said.
In Women’s Team Regu Preliminary Group A, India lost to Laos 1-2. They had lost to South Korea 0-3 in their opening match on Sunday.