Guangzhou, Nov 25 : Gunning for their sixth straight gold in men's kabaddi, title favourites India trounced Japan 52-17 to storm into the final of the competition in the Asian Games.
The Indian women, however, escaped by the skin of their teeth in the semifinal against Iran and won the thrilling match by one point (23-22) to reach tomorrow's gold medal clash.
While the men's team will take on Iran, who shocked Pakistan 17-16 after trailing 4-7 in the other semifinal, Indian eves will face Thailand, who defeated Bangladesh 34-23.
Indian men completely dominated their match against Japan and were 26-5 up after the first half time.
And though the rivals had their brief moments in the sun, they never really threatened the Indians, who have won the title five successive times since the sport was introduced in the Beijing Asiad in 1990.
The Indians were too quick for their rivals in both raiding and defending and procured eight lonas (dismissal of the entire lot of players from the field) in the match, four each in the two halves.
Indian team member Navneet Gautam said that Iran was a better team than Japan.
"Iran is better than Japan but we are superior in strategies and tactics than Iran. We are confident of winning (the gold)," he said.
"We played well today. We played as a team. We were also good in defence with good understanding," he said.
India had earlier beaten Iran in their opening league match 40-24, which was pointed out by another team member -- Kaptan Singh.
"We defeated Iran in the opener and I am confident we will close the tournament with another win over them," he said.
Another key player Jasmer said that his team was ready for Iran.
"We are ready to bag the gold medal. We have practiced hard during our training camp in India," he said ahead of the final.
Team coach Balwan Singh was also confident about his team's gold medal chances and said that Iran should be worried and not his team for tomorrow's final.
"For Iran we have got a good plan. We are not worried. They are the ones who should be worried," Balwan said.
He also appreciated the crowd support for his team.
"We are a popular team. We feel as though we are at home with all the applauding from the Chinese crowd," he said.
Meanwhile, Iran's coach Naserve Abolghsem said that his team's defence held out against Pakistan in the semifinals.
"Pakistan is a powerful team, but we put up a good defence," he said.
Against India the Iran coach is hopeful of shoring up the team's defence further and reducing their own errors. PTI