Pakistan excluded from 2016 Kabaddi World Cup due to current "political atmosphere"
Sport has often been a factor uniting countries that are at loggerheads with each other but certain situations are just not conducive enough to facilitate unity. In wake of the current tensions between India and Pakistan, the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) decided to not invite the latter for the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in India. Pakistan, which was earlier set to take part in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, was replaced by Argentina in the tournament that is set to commence in Ahmedabad on 7th October.
Apart from countries like India, Iran and Bangladesh, Pakistan is one of the strongest members of the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) but it has not been invited to the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. Relationships between India and Pakistan have become worse after the former carried out surgical strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) as a response to the attack on the Army Headquarters in Uri on September 18, 2016.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Deoraj Chaturvedi, the CEO of International Kabaddi Federation, said, “Pakistan is a valuable member and stakeholder of the federation, but in view of the current political atmosphere, we have decided, in the best interest of the sport, that this world cup should be played without them.” Pakistan, like India, has a strong kabaddi culture and was originally scheduled to be a part of the tournament but has now been replaced by Argentina.
There were reports of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup being postponed due to Pakistan’s demands but the CEO said that they have not received any such request from the federation. “The question of postponing the World Cup does not arise as the teams have arrived in Ahmedabad and everything is working out well. It will go ahead as planned,” he added. A lot of reports also confused the IKF Kabaddi World Cup with another one that will start in Punjab during November.
Reacting to that, Mr. Chaturvedi said, “The International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) has no connection with the world cup happening in Punjab during the month of November. Our tournament will start on October 7th and that is all we know.” The 2016 Kabaddi World Cup promises to be the biggest tournament in the history of international kabaddi after the success of the Pro Kabaddi League in India.
India will be opening its Kabaddi World Cup campaign against South Korea on 7th October along with Iran, who will play their first match against the United States of America.