Kabaddi , Kabaddi, Kabbadi: The Wave World Kabaddi League is Coming
The cliché is that Asians don’t do contact sport. Cricket and hockey yes, football and rugby no.
But while cricket has become a national obsession over the last few decades, one of the most popular sports of India for centuries, is Kabaddi.
And there are fewer tougher contact sports than Kabaddi, a fascinating game, which is a complex mixture of strategy and brute strength.
Millions of Asians play and watch the sport and over the years it has spread from its rural origins in northern India to Asian communities throughout the world and is played in 26 countries.
It is estimated there are already 100 million fans around the globe but now Kabaddi is poised to explode into the world of mainstream sport and intoxicate not just loyal fans but a whole new cosmopolitan audience with the formation of the Wave World Kabaddi League (WWKL) which is to be played in 5 countries across 3 continents.
The Big Bang begins at London’s O2 on August 9 and 10 when the WWKL commences before heading to Birmingham on August 16 and 17, then on to its globe-trotting tour.
Over the course of the next few months 144 top international Kabaddi players making up 8 international teams will compete in 86 matches.
So to the uninitiated what is Kabaddi?
Amandeep Kooner, who is a British based consultant to WKL, explains: “If you think of those playground game bulldog and tag then it’s a bit like that.
“It has elements of rugby too but without a ball, wrestling and aspects of martial arts.
“In India it has predominantly been a rural game over the centuries but it is now it is set to explode on to a much wider and more diverse stage with the exciting formation of the Wave World Kabaddi League.
“To understand the scale of interest, often in India, the game will get a bigger TV audience than IPL cricket.
“Since the Asian communities first arrived in Britain in the 1950’s it has steadily grown and now it is poised to get an even wider audience.”
Indeed despite its Indian roots the game has already spread beyond Asian communities, for instance the British Army uses the game for training purposes.
In the 1990’s Kabaddi developed a cult following when the game was screened on Channel 4 and the alluring pre match chant of “Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabaddi “entered the lexicon of British sport.
The WWKL has attracted the interest and investment some of India’s leading Bollywood stars. And the O2 event will embrace Indian style razzmatazz of traditional dance and music around the Kabaddi matches to enrich the entertainment.
One of India’s biggest Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar, who is the co-owner of one of the teams named Khalsa Warriors, will be performing the title tracks of recent movies at the inaugural O2 event.
Kumar says: “I am very excited about Wave World Kabaddi League. My performance at the O2 will be dedicated to all the Kabaddi fans who come together to cheer the teams. The League is a step to promote the Indian contemporary sport and bring it closer to the fans of the sport across the world”
While Sonakshi Sinha, one of Bollywood’s most glamorous actresses and co-owner of Untied Singhs, is putting on hold her filming schedule to lend her support to the WWKL tour and will be at the O2 when it kicks off in London on August 9.
This is the first time Sonakshi has associated herself with a sport of this kind. Speaking to media and her fans at a meet in Mumbai, Sonakshi said: “I am really excited to be part of Wave World Kabaddi League. This is my first such endeavour. Kabaddi is a fast paced sport and I am looking forward to some adrenaline rush moments during the League.” Sonakshi is likely to travel with her team as much as possible.
Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabbadi, Wave World Kabaddi League is coming. www.worldkabaddileague.net
Wave World Kabaddi League (WWKL) is the first international Kabaddi league to come out of India and is scheduled to roll out from August in a high profile event in London. Played in Circle style, WWKL is loosely based on the Formula 1 touring sport format and will be the first Indian sports league with an international footprint and a five-month long calendar. Circle style is the most popular Kabaddi format internationally and is played across 26 countries globally.
What is Kabaddi?
Kabaddi is a full contact team sport originating in India, in which two teams take turns to send a “raider” to the other’s territory, or half, and tag any one of the four “stoppers” of the opposing team, and return “home” within a 30 second time frame to win the raid, failing which the stoppers win the raid. The objective is to win as many points as possible either through raiders or through stoppers.
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