After World Cup success, Kabaddi to push for 2024 Olympics inclusion
Three years ago, no one would have predicted the meteoric growth of India’s own sport, Kabaddi. The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) saw players from across the globe fight for regional pride and for the first time since the sport’s inception, there was big money involved. However, to truly become a global sport, popularising the World Cup was required. Record numbers culminating with an India victory saw people from all around the world tune onto to their TV sets. The recent popularity surge has seen the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) move one step closer to garnering Olympic legitimacy.
A month prior to the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Baseball, Karate, Climbing and Surfing as new inclusions in 2020. Despite applying for a potential spot, the IKF was not given Olympic recognition, much to IKF’s shock. A source with IKF told Sportskeeda, “I can confirm that we are strongly pushing for a spot in the 2024 Olympics. We did everything possible for inclusion in 2020, but it didn’t pan out. The IOC is very much aware of the sport’s easy accessibility and we are hopeful of inclusion very soon. We have put in a formal request to the IOC, the final decision rests with them, but now we have a strong data about the sport’s international popularity which can be forwarded. The key point here is to play the sport you don’t need any specific access to any equipment to play, apart from IKF, other national associations such as Thailand and Iran have also spoken to IOC officials regarding the matter.”
The World Cup saw participants from six continents for the very first time in the tournament’s short history. Countries such as USA and Australia have pledged further paritcipation through their national sport, Aussie rules or popularly known as footy. Our source added, “We will be conducting camps across the world to introduce people to the sport, so that by 2024 we have a substantial number of countries with national setups. Right now, of course there is no confirmation from the IOC’s side, but things look positive.”
In fact, IKF President Janardhan Gehlot himself confirmed a potential bid for Olympic inclusion. During a press conference, he said, “We are doing everything in our hand to get the sport included in the Olympics. We hope to hear from the IOC soon.” With the sport growing rapidly on a daily basis, you just might see India win Olympic gold very soon.