Kabaddi World Cup 2016: Move over cricket, kabaddi piques youngsters’ interest

For some, Gujarat hosting the grand tournament is a matter of “pride”.

Written by JIGAR JOSHI | Ahmedabad | Published:October 22, 2016 5:09 am

The Kabaddi World Cup 2016, being held in Ahmedabad, has caught the fancy of younsgters, including students. As India gears up for the finals on Saturday, many in the city swear by the good old sport. Kabaddi has always been a part of growing-up years in schools and colleges.

Monika Thakkar, 21-year-old student and a kabaddi enthusiast, says, “It is exhilarating to be inside the stadium during the match.”

For some, Gujarat hosting the grand tournament is a matter of “pride”. Shyam Maru, 24-year-old student, says, “Gujarat has made a mark to prove that it has the facilities to host international event. The opportunity to watch players from various countries give their best for the title inspires us to shift our interest from cricket to kabaddi.”

Talks around Virat Kohli and M S Dhoni have given way to chatter over Anup Kumar, Rahul Chaudhari and Manjit Chillar. Abhishek Gadhetheriya, first year student of engineering, says, “It would be wonderful to see kabaddi included in Olympic Games.” Harivadan Kadiya, an MSc IT student, says, “I’ve played the game till taluka level. It’s thrilling to see other countries playing an Indian game. It should be declared our national game.” Kishan Makwana, an ex-district-level kabaddi player, says, “Seeing people watching it on TV and animatedly discussing on-going matches, makes me happy to have been associated with kabaddi in the past.” According to Vishal Gadhvi, 26-year-old communications student, “Consuming less time, the game has all the potential to capture people’s interest.”

Since the game originated and evolved in villages, many hidden talents will get a boost to seeing players from other countries put their best foot forward. “The misconception that there are limited chances at national level will fade after such events,” says Jay Mehta, a 22-year-old student. He adds, “Players seeking stardom and financial support like in other games will also get inspired by such tournaments.”

Saurabh Indrekar, an Under-22 Ahmedabad district cricket player, says, “The game rose from the soil and open courtyards to reach modern stadium. It fascinates me because of its qualities of mental and physical agility that match cricket.”

Mushtak Hussain, a tempo driver who goes about the city promoting Kabaddi World Cup, says, “I have been roaming across the city since October 7. Youngsters come to me and ask about the venue and where they could get tickets from.”

There is a hint of disappointment among youth who feel that the publicity for the event was not done properly. There are still others who have been let down by the rates of tickets. “The tickets were priced high. The cheap ones went out of stock soon. The advertisements did not show where to buy tickets,” says 22-year-old Darrell Merchant.