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Investments needed to improve kabaddi infrastructure, says Anup Kumar

Ashish Mani Tiwari

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Anup Kumar was conferred with the Arjuna award in 2012.

New Delhi: Anup Kumar, who retired from kabaddi in 2018, had a distinguished career in the sport.

He made his international debut in 2006 at the South Asian Games where India won gold. He also lifted the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup trophy and was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2012. Recently, the kabaddi great spoke to Sports Lounge over various aspects of the sport. current sports news india sports news game reading

Excerpts: current sports news india sports news game reading

SL: You have been a Kabaddi enthusiast, who inspired you to take up the sport?

AK: I took up Kabaddi due to my school teacher. He introduced me to the sport. I was tall and very athletic which is why he pursued me to start playing. I took it up at a young age, in the sixth or seventh standard. Although it started out by chance, the sport caught my interest and kabaddi became an integral part of my life.

SL: Was there any difficult moment in your life that made you think about quitting Kabaddi?

AK: There was not a moment when I felt like giving up Kabaddi, but one incident made me realise the value that the sport holds in my life. Around 2004, my brother had given me an ultimatum that I just had one year to prove myself.

He had given me one year to make a career out of sports failing which I would have to go back to studies and take up a job eventually. I was definitely not willing to give up on my passion, so I went that extra mile to perform better. With relentless efforts and determination, I made sure that I don’t have to quit it.

SL: Following the launch of Pro Kabaddi League, Kabaddi in India has inched new heights, what do you think, is it enough to promote the sport? Do you think authorities and administration need to take more steps towards the encouragement of sport?

AK: As a whole, Kabaddi has undergone a major transition in the country, people are extremely receptive towards it today. Ever since the Vivo Pro-Kabaddi League commenced, the sport has really come a long way. current sports news india sports news game reading

In terms of popularity, it is the fastest-growing non-cricket sport. The perception about Kabaddi has changed now. There is an instant connect with the sport and that has helped the sport to grow by leaps and bounds. Now, Kabaddi has a cool quotient associated with it and people see it in a completely new avatar.

Having said that, though PKL has given Kabaddi the required recognition, I still feel that there needs to be solid investments on developing infrastructure for the game at the grassroot. Every state should come up with the best facilities for the sport. If we have good facilities from the beginning, that would be very helpful for new talent.

SL: As the head coach of Puneri Paltan, what’s your plan for the ongoing season and what are your expectations from the team?

AK: Our preliminary objective is to make it to the playoffs and subsequently lift the trophy. We are concentrating on one game at a time. I feel it is important to take each game as it comes and focus on each moment during these games as that would help us to refine our performance.

SL: What are the strengths of Puneri Paltan and which teams are the strongest contenders of the current season?

AK: I see a lot of potential in this squad. Having a very balanced side this season which would shape up well for Puneri Paltan. Our raiding department and our defence unit is equally a priority for us, and we are concentrating on strengthening both.

Our raiding is led by strong players like Nitin, Manjeet, Pawan and our defence by experienced players like Surjeet and Girish. We also have a lot of promising youngsters like Pankaj, Sanket, and Sushant who have performed extremely well in the previous matches. current sports news india sports news game reading

According to me, every team is equally strong. Eventually, your performance, at that moment, on the mat, is what counts. I have always worked towards being the best and I have a similar outlook towards my team.

SL: What do you think about Kabaddi in Olympics?

AK: The game has a very rich history, and is reckoned as India’s indigenous sport. The world has embraced Kabaddi today, there are a number of countries that play the sport and in future, I expect more countries joining in. I feel it would be great to see Kabaddi be a part of the Olympics. current sports news india sports news game reading

SL:What’s your opinion on other team coaches, especially Rakesh Kumar? 

AK: Rakesh is more than just my contemporary, he has been one of my closest friends. Together we have designed strategies, defeated our rivals and achieved milestones for our country. Over the years, during matches and national camps, we have relied on each other’s experience and expertise.

He is one of the most respected Kabaddi players in India, and just like me, he has donned the hat of a coach this season. I would like to give him my best wishes for this new journey.

Kabaddi News

Dabang Delhi to take on Bengal Warriors for PKL final

Press Trust of India

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Dabang Delhi

Ahmedabad: Dabang Delhi KC will take on Bengal Warriors in the final of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 to be played here on Saturday.

PKL will have a new winner as both the teams are playing their first final.

The match will be played at EKA Arena by TransStadia here.

Coaches of the two teams are upbeat about the performances of their respective teams and claimed that the final will be amazing to watch, no matter who ends winning the title.

“No one knows who will win as both teams are equally good. Our players will do their best,” said Dabang Delhi KC’s coach, Krishna Kumar Hooda.

Hooda even expressed confidence that the tournament would give a few players the chance to secure their place in the national team.

Notably, Bengal Warrior’s coach B C Ramesh was a national player when Hooda was the chief coach of the Indian team.

“For tomorrow’s match, I believe that both raiders and defenders need to give their best. Along with hard work, luck also plays its role. I am glad that two new teams are playing the final. We will show the world how to play real kabaddi,” Ramesh said.

Dabang Delhi KC made to the final by defeating defending champions Bengaluru Bulls 44-38 in the semi final, while in the second semi final Bengal Warriors edged past U Mumba 37-35 in a tightly-fought contest to book a place in the summit clash.

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UP Kabaddi League: Varanasi Volcano and Muzaffarnagar Maharaja emerged winners of season II

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Lucknow: The second season of the UP Kabaddi League, which is partnered by UP Yoddha – the Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh based Pro Kabaddi League franchise,  was capped off by two contrasting finals in the men’s and women’s format.

In the men’s final, Muzaffarnagar Maharaja squared off against RR Polytechnic Varanasi Warriors. In contrast to the women’s final, this match turned out to be one-way traffic as the Muzaffarnagar outfit were in total control from the onset, dictating the pace of the game and eventually clinching the UP Kabaddi League Men’s title in convincing fashion, by a score line of 50-25.

Muzaffarnagar’s Ajay was named the Player of the Match, credits to his 11 point haul for the champions. Muzaffarnagar claimed another accolade, when their star all-rounder Bhishm Choudhary was named the Player of the Tournament.

In the women’s final, Varanasi Volcano defeated Baghpat Anokhi in what turned out to be a closely contested affair, thus claiming the UP Kabaddi League Women’s title. The match ended 27-27 after normal time, with the Varanasi outfit edging out 34-32 after extra time to clinch the championship.  Varanasi’s Kamini Tiwari was adjudged to be the Player of the Match following her stellar performance in defence.

The Champions of both formats were awarded one lakh rupees each while the runners-up were awarded seventy-five thousand.

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India to push for Kabaddi’s inclusion in 2024 Olympics, says sports minister Rijiju

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said that the government will try to push for the inclusion of Kabaddi in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

“Kabaddi is a perfect example of how an indigenous sport has grown successfully. This I feel is the beginning of the sports culture that we envisaged for India which is now becoming a reality,” Rijiju said while speaking on KBD Live at Star Sports Studio on Sunday.

“We will definitely push hard for Kabaddi to be part of the next Olympics as we are a billion plus powerful nation and so for this to become possible, we will have to put all our efforts together, but I am very confident about it.”

He did not elaborate on how this will be done but including a new sport in the Olympic roster is a long-drawn and cumbersome process, which also requires intense lobbying.

A sport will have to first get recognition from the International Olympic Committee. Then, its governing body will have to become a recognised International Federation (IF) of the IOC. The sport’s IF will then apply for admittance as an Olympic sport by filing a petition establishing its criteria of eligibility to the IOC.

Moreover, after a vote of the IOC Session on June 25 in Lausanne, the IOC has said that no further sports can be put forward for inclusion on the programme of the 2024 Olympic Games.

As Olympic host country, Paris 2024 submitted its proposal to include breaking, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing on the Olympic programme to the IOC. After an evaluation by the Olympic Programme Commission, the IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the existing events and proposed new events in December 2020.

India has always been a dominant force in Kabaddi, which is part of the Asian Games.

Seven-time champions Indian men’s team claimed a bronze at the Jakarta Asian Games held in Indonesia last year, while the women’s team settled for a silver after being beaten by Iran in the final.

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