A missing Pakistan team was a glaring miss in the official schedule of the upcoming Kabaddi World Cup. Hours after the schedule was released, the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) is yet to commit to the participation of the sub-continental team in the third edition of the tournament. “It’s still in a wait and watch phase right now. In the next few days we will probably have a better view and understanding on their participation,” said Deoraj Chaturvedi, Chief Operating Officer of the IKF.
The development comes just two months after the World Cup’s staging was announced. At that point in time, Pakistan’s involvement at the Ahmedabad based event had been confirmed. Yet just as it was for the inaugural World Cup in 2004 and the second edition in 2007, both held in Mumbai, the Pakistan team did not travel to the country.
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Incidentally enough, a Pakistan team did compete at the South Asian Games in Guwahati in February. At the Asian Games however, which is considered the sport’s prime competition, Pakistan has competed in each edition since the game was introduced to the quadrennial event in 1990, winning two silver medals and four bronze medals in the process. Political tensions between the two countries have often provided visa related hurdles over the past years. In the inaugural edition of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014, a set of Pakistani players’ visa applications were rejected. Earlier still, at the Asian Rugby Sevens event in Mumbai in 2013, the Pakistan team was allegedly advised by the host nation itself against travelling to compete. Yet in the current context, on a technical front, the foreign team is no longer considered a Kabaddi superpower.