Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Women's Kabaddi Challenge announced; to be held alongside Pro Kabaddi
Three teams will play in a round-robin format on 4th day of each leg of Pro Kabaddi League.
The enormous success of Pro Kabaddi over the last three years has now paved the way for women’s participation in the league. The fourth season will see three women kabaddi teams play matches on the 4th day of each leg starting from 28th June in what’s being called as the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge. The fourth season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi that kicked off on 25th June with a match between the Telugu Titans and Puneri Paltans is the second of the year 2016.
The three women teams, Ice Divas, Fire Birds and Storm Queens, will play their games on the same court as men i.e. 13 by 10 square metres in a 30-minute clash. Storm Queens will be captained by Tejeswini Bai while Abhilasha Mhatre will handle the leadership duties for Ice Divas. Mamtha Poojari, who has been associated with the league as a part of the commentary team will be seen leading Fire Birds.
Teams will face off each other twice in a round-robin format. After the six contests are done and dusted, the teams placed in second and third position will compete in a qualifier to determine who plays in the final against the round robin winners. The finals are set to be hosted alongside the Men’s Pro Kabaddi Finals on 31st July at Hyderabad.
Anupam Goswami, League Commissioner, Star Sports Pro Kabaddi added, “Women’s Kabaddi Challenge is a manifestation of the journey that women have undertaken in all walks of our national life. We applaud the fact that women regularly challenge gender stereotypes in our society. Come June 28, this is where Women will #Crosstheline in kabaddi.”
The Cross the line campaign through which the 3 team event is being promoted focuses on the achievements of women in different walks of life and the restrictions that have been traditionally placed on them, preventing them from being able to tap their potential to the fullest.
Janardan Singh Gehlot, President, International Kabaddi Federation said, “With Star Sports Pro Kabaddi carving a niche in the sports arena, we felt the need to create the same opportunity for our talented women kabaddi players. We have handpicked best of the players across regions to form these three teams who will be part of the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge. This initiative will bring tremendous benefit not only to women’s kabaddi but to the way overall women’s sport in India’.”
60 Kabaddi players from all over the country took part in trials held in Mumbai in April. Out of the 60, 36 were selected and they will constitute the three teams.
A full-fledged Women’s Kabaddi League also is in the pipeline, revealed Charu Sharma, the managing director of Mashal Sports. “That plan is a bit in the pipeline as of now, and we haven’t given it a deadline as such. What we’re doing at the moment is a sort of season teaser for the women’s league. It’s more in a preliminary nature,” said Sharma.
The Pro Kabaddi League has been immensely successful and has popularised a game that had no takers in urban India a few years back. The inclusion of women is only expected to popularise it even further.