Ever since Pro Kabaddi League came into being the likes of Anup Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Nilesh Shinde, Nitin Mandane, Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada, Kashiling Adake, Jasvir Singh, Shabeer Bappu, Pardeep Narwal, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar, Rahul Chaudhari, and Sukesh Hegde have become household names across the country. It is expected that things would reach a new high when the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup is organized from 7th October 2016 to 22nd October 2016. This World Cup, the eighth edition of this tournament, is special in the sense that it will be broadcast across the country on Star Sports Network and will be streamed live on the internet across the world on HotStar, thus giving the tournament a range of exposure never seen before.
This is also the first time that the national government has taken such a major interest in promoting the premier tournament of what is supposed to be one of the most popular sports in the country now. The logo for the tournament was launched by the Union Sports Minister, Vijay Goel. Previously, it was primarily the Punjab Government that was doing the duties as host and main patron. The entire tournament is supposed to be played at The Arena by TransStadia – a new stadium constructed in Ahmedabad for this tournament. This brand new venue has all the facilities needed to host the tournament successfully. This edition of the World Cup also differs from its last few predecessors in the sense that this one is being organized in the international format – the last few (from 2010 to 2014) were organized in the circle format.
History of Kabaddi World Cup
The first World Cup of kabaddi was held at Ludhiana in 2010. It saw India defeat Pakistan by a margin of 58-24. Canada and Italy came third and fourth in the tournament respectively. The next three editions were held in Ludhiana as well. In 2011, India defeated Canada 59-25 (Pakistan took the third spot and Italy again came fourth) and in the next final again defeated Pakistan with a margin of 59-22. This time Canada came third and Iran took the fourth spot.
In 2013, India once again became champions by defeating New Zealand 48-39 in the finals. This time around Denmark came third and Pakistan took the fourth spot. The last kabaddi World Cup was held at Sri Muktsar Sahib with India yet again becoming champions and defeating New Zealand 45-42 in the final. This time Pakistan took the third spot and Denmark became fourth. However, all these tournaments were organized in the circle format.
The first tournament in the international format was held at Mumbai in 2004. Here too, India won in the finals defeating Iran 55-27. Bangladesh and Canada came third and fourth respectively. The second such tournament was organized in 2007 at Panvel with India defeating Iran yet again with a margin of 29-19. Bangladesh again came third but the fourth spot saw a new name in Japan.
This time 12 teams from all the Olympic circles are taking part in the tournament and they have been divided into two groups of six teams each. Pool A is made up of India, Bangladesh, England, Australia, South Korea, and Argentina. Pool B comprises Iran, the US, Poland, Kenya, Thailand, and Japan.
Players to look out for
Anup Kumar has become a bigger player in the last few years and is now the most popular star in this sport. He has been playing in the national team regularly from 2006 when he debuted at South Asian Games held in Sri Lanka that year. He is talismanic, inspirational, and exceptionally unmatched when it comes to strategy. Right now he is in the best shape of his life and he could be pivotal to the national team’s chances in the upcoming World Cup.
Manjeet Chhillar is a well-known face as well and is one of the top allrounders in the game – feared around the world. It is his aggressive mindset – one of his main strengths – that has made such a difference for the team in critical matches over the years. He is an important voice in the dressing room too.
Rahul Chaudhari could also be an important cog in the wheel of the national team by virtue of being the ideal raider. He is well-established in the Indian team and adds plenty of style to the attack. He can play a good role in defence as well. In short, he is an entertaining prospect.
Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar would be expected to be the pillars of defence – especially in corner defence positions – and this means that they have become indispensable members of the Indian team. Sandeep Narwal is also expected to play a major role in this regard. He is quick, athletic, fierce, and powerful – qualities that have helped him play his role with aplomb. He can also play an important role in raids as he is capable of thinking on his feet.
Among the international players the following could make a difference for their team if selected:
|Nicholas George Mottram||England||Left corner defender|
|Fazel Atrachali||Iran||Left corner defender|
|Md. Arduzzaman Munshi||Bangladesh||Raider|
|Md. Tuhin Tarafder||Bangladesh||Raider|
|Md. Zakir Hossain||Bangladesh||Raider|
The biggest advantage of these players is that they are familiar with Indian style of kabaddi having played as overseas pros in the Pro Kabaddi League.
Fixtures of Indian team
The following table shows the fixtures of Indian team in the round-robin stage:
|7th October||South Korea|
The semifinals will be held on 21st October and the final game will be staged on 22nd October.
Past performance of teams
India is easily the most dominant team in world kabaddi having won all the world cups till date. The fact that it has organized them as well does not take away anything from this immensely-wonderful achievement. Bangladesh till date has taken part in the first couple of world cups and achieved third spot in both. England has taken part in all the tournaments so far but its best result remains the quarterfinal finish in 2004.
Till date, Iran has been a strong performer in world kabaddi. It achieved runners-up positions in the first couple of tournaments, achieved fourth place in 2012, and third place in 2014. Thailand has till now taken part in only the first couple of tournaments and its best finish remains reaching the quarters in the second edition. Japan, too, has only taken part in the first couple of tournaments – the best it has done is reach the fourth spot in 2007.