Hosts Bangladesh came from behind to clinch the title of Bangabandhu Cup International Kabaddi Tournament with a 34-28 win over Kenya in the final at the National Volleyball Stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh got off to a fine start to earn two quick points from Kenya, but the African champions soon grew in confidence and turned the tables.
In face of resolute pressure, the men in red and green made some mistakes to give the edge to Kenya, who came here with a couple of players playing in the Indian Pro-Kabaddi League. The visitors took a comfortable 18-10 lead in the first half, thanks to their excellent athletic display and superior build.
Kenya, at that point, were looking to dash the hopes of the hosts in the five-nation tournament, where world powers such as India, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea and Argentina were not playing.
However, buoyed by a pep talk from their Indian coach Saju Ram Gayet, Bangladesh players used their experience and came back strongly in the second half.
With the spectators cheering on the home side, Kenya failed to carry their momentum as Bangladesh grew stronger and stronger, with Arduzzaman, Tuhin Tarafer and Monirul Islam producing some valuable points.
"Despite trailing in the first half, I was confident of overcoming Kenya and I succeeded in every raid. It was a tournament of teams from three continents and we are the champions after beating all of the opponents," said captain Tuhin, who was adjudged the player of the tournament.
Arduzzaman was named player of the final while Monirul was adjudged as the best catcher.
Coach Gayet said, "We became champions as the best team of the tournament. I have belief in the boys who paid it back by performing well in the second half. I believe Bangladesh will get back its past glory in kabaddi."