The stage is set for the start of the third World Cup Kabaddi Championship at various venues across Punjab, India, from December 1. The championship, which will run until December 15, will witness as many as 15 nations – England, Afghanistan, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Norway, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Scotland, Argentina, Italy, Iran, Kenya, US and hosts India – battling it out for the top honours in the men’s section.
According to the organizers, seven countries – Canada, Denmark, England, Turkmenistan, USA, Malaysia and hosts India – will participate in the women’s section.
The championship will achieve a significant ‘first’ – teams from European and African countries will be participating for the first time.
The championships would be held at thirteen venues in Punjab – Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Sangrur, Roop Nagar, Doda, Chohla Sahib, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Mansa, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
The men’s teams would be staying at Jalandhar and Bathinda, while the women’s teams would be staying at Ludhiana.
The championship should have an extra coat of competitive flavour given the fact that the organizers have substantially enhanced the prize money for the winners, runner-ups and third-placed teams in both the men’s and women’s categories.
The men’s champions will take home a purse of Rs 2 crore, while the runner-up team would receive a cash prize of Rs 1 crore. The men’s third-placed team would get an award of Rs 51 lakh.
The women’s champions will be richer by Rs 51 lakh, while the runner-up team would bag a cash award of Rs 31 lakh. The third-placed women’s team would receive a cash prize of Rs 21 lakh.
It may be pertinent to mention that the championship reared its ugly head during its second edition when many players failed dope tests. This time around the organizers have put in place stringent norms to ensure a dope-free championship.
The organizers have requested the Ministry of Sports and National Anti Dope Agency to conduct dope tests of all players and has also constituted an anti dope committee.
The organizers have intimated that any player found guilty of flunking dope tests would not only have to forego his prize money but would also be banned for two years.
The opening ceremony of the championship would be held at Bathinda on December 1 – it is billed to be a star-studded affair with latest laser show being a big draw.
Hosts India are defending champions in both the men’s and women’s categories. The Indian men’s team pipped Canada 59-25 in the final to script glory, while the Indian’s women’s team brushed aside UK 44-17.
In fact, the Indian men would be looking to redeem themselves after finishing runners-up to arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2nd Asia Cup Kabaddi Championship held at Lahore (Pakistan) this November. India won all their league games in style before they lost to Pakistan in the final league encounter and had to settle for the second-best finish.