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World Kabaddi League launched

Team captains at the launch of the World Kabaddi League in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: S. Subramanium

Team captains at the launch of the World Kabaddi League in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: S. Subramanium

Kabaddi seems to be the flavour of the season with two professional leagues beginning back-to-back in the coming fortnight but with both promoting different formats of the game, they are being seen as complementing rather than competing against each other.

On Thursday, the World Kabaddi League (WKL) was launched with the promoters — Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is the president of the league while former India hockey captain Pargat Singh is the league commissioner — unveiling the eight teams, their owners and marquee players.

The competition, spread over four months and across 13 cities in five countries, will kick off on August 9 in London. The WKL aims to popularise ‘circle kabaddi’ and make it an annual touring sports event.

In contrast to the traditional amateur kabaddi — part of the Olympic movement and an Asian Games fixture — circle kabaddi is played inside a circular playing area. The raider can be caught only by the defendant he touches.

The WKL will feature 144 international players with over Rs 15 crore in players’ salaries.

“Kabaddi is a rural sport that has gone international. Today, circle kabaddi is played in Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Afghanistan. The World Kabaddi League will be the first international sports property with its origin in India,” Badal said.

Pargat Singh explained the format: “Matches will be played every weekend in a different city. We will host the games across India, USA, Canada, UK and the UAE. Every team will play the other seven teams thrice before the top four qualify for the play-offs. The final will be played at Mohali on December 14,” he said, adding that in the coming years the event would be taken to other parts of the country and that a women’s league would be included.

The teams and marquee players: Punjab Thunders — Talwinder Singh; United Singhs — Sukhvir Singh; Haryana Focus — Baldev; California Eagles — Satish Kumar; Yo Yo Tigers — Rupinder Singh; Vancouver Lions — Loveroop Singh; Speedy Singhs — Avtar Singh; Royal Kings — Sujeet Singh.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 7:00:17 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports//article60340646.ece