The inaugural edition of the 1st Junior World Kabaddi Championship is set to take place from 9th November to 15th November 2019 in Kish Island, Iran, organized by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF). The tournament will feature U-20 players from around the world as a motive to give recognition to future Kabaddi stars.
According to sources close to Sportskeeda, 14 nations have been announced as participants in the 1st ever Junior Kabaddi World Cup. Kish Island will play host to Iran, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Iraq, Denmark, Turkmenistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
However, one of the biggest talking points is the absence of the Indian U-19 Kabaddi team from the list of the participating nations, and it is understood that this is a shortcoming owing to the AKFI's issues to form a World Cup team in short notice.
Since the AKFI were involved in the Pro Kabaddi League and planning the probable players' list for the South Asian Games, it comes as no shock that the Junior World Cup was not in focus.
Hosts Iran will undoubtedly start as the favorites to clinch the title, heading into the first-ever Junior World Cup. Amir Hosein Bastami will be captaining the Iranian team while the likes of Mohammad Reza Shadloo and Amir Ghorbani, who were part of the Iranian camp during their preparation for the 2018 Asian Games could prove to be game-changers for the hosts.
Iraq and Pakistan could be tough challengers, with the amount of competitiveness and exposure they have in their line-up. Iraq Kabaddi Team's captain Ali Sari will be coaching the U-20 Kabaddi side while the Pakistan U-20 Kabaddi team also has some big names in the setup and could be worthy title contenders.
The inaugural edition of the Junior World Cup will be contested in an approach to involve multiple countries, spread the reach of the sport and bring more youngsters into the spotlight. The World Cup will aim at providing a platform for young and talented players from the grassroots level to enhance their interest in representing their national side in the future tournaments.