NEW DELHI: “The target is always to make the sport a global phenomenon, and ultimately reach the Olympic stage”. This was the promise of International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) president Janardan Singh Gehlot here on Wednesday, at the launch of the logo and schedule of the Kabaddi World Cup that will be held in Ahmedabad from October 7 to 22.
“The process to get kabaddi into the Olympics has been a long-drawn one, and it still continues. We have gotten the sport into the Games’ programme long ago, but making its presence felt on the biggest stage is something that hasn’t happened so far. But, we will try as hard as we possibly can to do so. We have already written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), seeking their permissions. Now the toughest part comes, which is to wait and hope that things turn out in our favour,” he added.
Having used the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) to literally turn around the flagging fortunes of kabaddi — a sport that is as indigenous as it gets — thanks to the help of Star Sports, its no surprise that they want to aim higher."
Japan has judo, China wushu, Pakistan squash and South Korea taekwondo. But, do we have a sport that we can call our own, while also being dominant in it? Kabaddi easily falls under that category, and it is up to us to take it to the world stage,” opined sports expert Charu Sharma, also the brains behind PKL.
Kabaddi has been a part of the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games for quite a while, and India has dominated in all these tournaments. But, with more and more countries taking interest in the sport, competiton has steadily gotten better.
“Iran are almost on par with India, while other countries look up to us when they want to improve themselves. That only shows that we are succeeding in reaching out to more audiences, which in turns means more competition,” noted Gehlot.
The World Cup will see 12 teams fight it out for the trophy, with India kicking off proceedings against a tough-looking South Korean outfit.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel, who unveiled the official logo, added that the ‘kabaddi in Olympics’ movement had his full backing.
“I have been a sportsperson myself, and I know the sacrifices that go into the making of one. Seeing the way kabaddi has been revived in the country, I offer my full support so as to take the sport into the Olympics.”