Move over IPL, PBL, ISL, PWL and PVL. For PPL is here. The latest entrant in professional format of a sport – PPL stands for Pro Panja League. To be launched at Thyagraja Stadium, New Delhi today (February 29), Pro Panja League is aimed at health, wellness and fitness, and is a small step towards the bigger goal of Fit India, Hit India.
It is being organised by Swen Entertainment Pvt Ltd, headed by Bollywood couple Parvin Dabas and Preeti Jhangiani. For the first two years, Pro Panja League will take place as a national tournament with Indian players.
In the third year, it will branch out into a franchisee team format league. To keep the rules in check and in the true sportsman spirit, a senior referee from World Arm Wrestling Federation – Anna Belenciuc from Moldova – has been invited to act as the umpire for these matches. She will also act as an observer for the tournament, overlooked by the Indian Arm Wrestling Federation.
“I grew up with ‘Arm Wrestling’ Panja all around me... it was huge and became bigger because of Sylvester Stallone’s movie Over the Top, which was path-breaking for the sport.
What I like the most is it is a non-violent way of testing one’s strength. I truly believe this is a sport for the masses and is a sport which has been waiting to be ‘reintroduced’ to people,” says Dabas, talking about why he started the league.
There are six weight categories for men – 60kgs, 70kgs, 80kgs, 90kgs, 100kgs and 100kg plus – and two for women – 65kgs and 65kgs plus. The finals of every weight category will be held at Thyagaraja Stadium.
Significantly, specially-abled athletes will be competing in the same tournament/league as their fellow athletes at the PPL.
There will be three tables for arm wrestling with three judges to monitor each table for the prelims. Twelve Indian cities will host the Pro Panja National League in the coming months, and the winner of PPL will secure a direct entry into the National League.
“The idea of the Pro Panja League is to promote a sport that has been played and has roots in our country for ages and is being played professionally the world over and even in India we have world-class athletes,” says Jhangiani.
“We plan to do the Nationals for two years and then move on to the Asian and then to the World Arm Wrestling stage, ” she adds.