Women’s Kabaddi Challenge set to #CROSSTHELINE on June 28
Spectacular debut at Mumbais NSCI, Dome with three teams to compete on the same court as men for the first time.
The Women’s Kabaddi Challenge, a pioneering initiative by the AKFI in close association with Mashal Sports, was announced on Monday. In the history of Kabaddi, it is for the first time that women Kabaddi teams will clash at the same court as men i.e. 13 by 10 square metres in a 30 minute clash.
The challenge will reveal 3 teams- Fire Birds captained by Mamtha Poojari, Ice Divas captained by Abhilasha Mhatre and Storm Queens captained by Tejeswini Bai. The first match will be played on 28th June at the DOME SVP, National Sports Club of India in Mumbai, Maharashtra with the finals set to be hosted alongside the Men’s Pro Kabaddi Finals on 31st July at Hyderabad.
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’.”
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.”
A number of contenders in the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge have won several accolades and have already proved themselves in the international arena. Tejeswini Bai of Storm Queens, Abhilasha Mhatre of Ice Divas and Mamtha Poojari of Fire Birds are all Arjuna awardees, the most prestigious recognition for outstanding achievement in sports in the country.
The caliber of these Indian women Kabaddi players can be gauged by the fact that India has won all Golds at the Asian Games since 2006. Under their leadership, Women’s Kabaddi Challenge is poised to bring local heroes to the national stage.
Sharing their excitement at the announcement, the three coaches, Padmaja of Fire Birds, Banani Saha of Ice Divas and Neeta Dadwe of Storm Queens; collectively echoed their sentiments, “We are thankful to AKFI and Mashal Sports for the support and belief in the future of women’s kabaddi in India.
“The players have undergone intense physical training to build physical and mental strength. Every one of us is really excited to test our players’ potential at the bigger courts and take women’s Kabaddi to the next level.”
Brimming with confidence, the three team captains spoke about their experience, “It has been an incredible journey for all of us in the last few months. Considering Kabaddi is such a high-intensity contact sport, we had to work really hard to be prepared for this challenge and are confident that with the training we have gone through in the past few months, we will embrace it well.
“It is really exciting and heartening for all of us players who have waited years for this opportunity to showcase our strength and potential on the mat. We hope that our efforts are appreciated by the viewers and inspire more girls to take up Kabaddi as a career option across the nation.”
Women Kabaddi Challenge will be played across multiple cities – Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Jaipur and Pune starting from June 28th.
Women’s Kabaddi Challenge will be televised LIVE on Star Sports 2 & Star Sports HD 2 in English, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD 3 in Hindi, Maa Movies in Telugu; on Star Gold in Hindi and Suvarna Plus in Kannada and on Star’s Digital platform, hotstar from 9:00 pm onwards.