Kabaddi is a sport whose history is entrenched in the land of the subcontinent. Researchers are not exactly sure where primarily the sport originated. However there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that kabaddi is very popular in Asia. In fact, it is the national sport of Bangladesh and Nepal. It’s traces are found in mythology, but we don’t exactly find out how and when the sport originated. The ecosystem of Kabaddi has expanded to over 40 countries and is now a fast growing sport. It may be featured at the Olympics soon.
Kabaddi hasn’t gotten much attention in Pakistan, of late so imagine our surprise when we saw Kabaddi being a trending topic on Twitter
Dair aye durust aye! Good to see corporates coming forward to support #SuperKabaddi league. Its high time we need investors to highlight rural sports & support it just then the sports in Pakistan can flourish.
— Sawera Pasha (@sawerapasha) April 20, 2018
– Kabaddi is a sport, I feel really connected with. Truly inspirational individuals. Wonderful initiative and I’m sure #SuperKabaddi League, starting from May 2nd in Lahore, will create history ..
— Asif Khan (@mak_asif) April 24, 2018
Turns out all of it was because of the Super Kabaddi League, a new event that showcased the talents of South Asia’s homegrown sport.
So we've had an quite the day today. The teams are all in place. Everyone is happy and so are we!#SKLDraft
— Telenor Super Kabaddi League (@Super_Kabaddi) April 23, 2018
Names of all the teams in inaugural edition of Super Kabaddi League.
– Peshawar Haiders
– Faisalabad Sherdils
– Gujrat Warriors
– Gwadar Bahadurs
– Islamabad All Stars
– Lahore Thunder
– Karachi Zorawars
– Multan Sikandar
– Sahiwal Bulls
– Kashmir Janbaaz #SKLDraft
— Telenor Super Kabaddi League (@Super_Kabaddi) April 23, 2018
The world was first introduced to the sport of Kabaddi back in 1936 during the Berlin Olympics. This was a time of pre-partition India, hence Indians introduced the sport to the world. Since the sport did not require any expensive equipments, just a massive chunk of land to play on; it quickly gained popularity amongst the people of rural Punjab
However, the game later evolved into the Asian style of Kabaddi, primarily played on a mat in an indoor setting.
Kabaddi is a team sport and the basic idea behind it is to develop defense skills
It’s a combination of wrestling, gymnastics, martial arts and tag, which means that the sport requires physical power as well as mental skill. The players develop means of attack and responses to attacks in the game.
Each team has 12 players; 7 play the game and 5 are reserve players. A white line divides the court into two halves, and each side takes turns to send a player to the defending team’s half.
Pakistan Kabaddi Federation was formed in 1964.
Since then, the sport became a part of South Asian Games in 1985 and Asian Games in 1990. Pakistan participated in multiple international competitions. A brief look at the history shows Pakistan winning gold, silver or bronze consistently.Team Pakistan beat India at the Asian Beach games in 2016 to win gold. Most recently, the team went on towin Silver at the Asian Championships in Iran in 2017.
Pakistan had its first ever women’s kabaddi team back in 2015
Our focus as a country has primarily been towards promoting cricket and that, too, of just male cricket players. This takes away all the attention from the other sports being played in the country and discourages upcoming players, who rightfully think that the sport will not ensure a stable future.
On the sidelines of Super Kabaddi League, an exhibition match for women was also held. This was the first time that the women’s team had displayed their Kabaddi talent for a Pakistani audience. It gave them much needed recognition and an opportunity to shine.
So, we stand at a point where the sport is in desperate need of attention and funds and this is where the Super Kabaddi League comes in.
Strawberry Sports Management is bringing Super Kabaddi League to Pakistan to not only promote the majorly neglected indigenous sport of Kabaddi but also to bring much needed entertainment to the activity-starved audience of Pakistan. Strawberry is Pakistan’s first professionally run sports management company, with a vision to create multi-sport culture in Pakistan so that the country can take its place among the sporting nations of the world. Besides Super Kabaddi League, Strawberry owns international sports leagues of Wrestling, Volleyball, Football that are likely to take place after Super Kabaddi League.
The formal kick off of Super Kabaddi League was preceded by Players’ Draft that took place in Lahore on 23 rd April. Ten teams chose their Pakistani and international players through a transparent process. The proceedings were made interesting by engaging anchors, heart filled speeches and relatively non-complex Draft Process; not to mention the whole day LIVE coverage on TV.
We couldn’t be more excited to see what Strawberry Sports Management will do.
The sports company’s founder & CEO, Haider Ali Daud Khan says , “We need to have dreams in lives. If SKL is the dream; the sense of purpose that stitches it together is Pakistan. We are not going to settle for success alone; we are shooting for legacy”.
Super Kabaddi League kicked off on May 1 with an impressive and entertaining the Opening Ceremony in in Lahore. Reema Khan was the co-host of the night and she lit up the atmosphere with her admiration for the sport and clear message. Team Owners and players were cheering with joy with the above- expectation show put up in their honor. Be it the delicately designed souvenirs, the
close-to- heart speeches or the exquisite unveiling of the Trophy, the evening was a not- to-be- missed event; one that may give PCB some sense of inspiration how to design PSL ceremonies in a more dignified, purposeful and player-centric fashion. The unsaid theme of the night was patriotism and the tagline of Season 01 is “Damm Hai Tu Saamnaye Aa” (daring other to compete)
With backing by known figures like Shehzad Roy who has extended his endorsement for Super Kabaddi League by buying Kashmir Janbaz, the sport will finally get the attention it so desperately deserves.
— Shehzad Roy (@ShehzadRoy) April 20, 2018
Countries which have efficiently developed their Kabaddi scene now see regular professional players. It’s safe to assume that the potential for the sport is immense if the players are encouraged and the league continues to thrive.
Not to forget this tongue in cheek encounter between cricketing star Shahid Afridi and Shehzad Roy which is oh-so-endearing.
— Shehzad Roy (@ShehzadRoy) April 29, 2018
So, to all sports lovers of Pakistan: Super Kabaddi League was a brave new effort to revive this sport in Pakistan. After all, we all need to channel our energies into productive activities and what better than a truly fun, home-grown sport like Kabaddi.
Foreign players have added a new flavor to the League. The buzz is that Super Kabaddi League is the single most odd defying sports initiative from private sector in the history of Pakistan. The fact that the League has taken an inclusive approach of taking all stakeholders on board makes us more confident that Super Kabaddi League is a brand to look out for and follow in years and decades to come.
But for the time being its time to play Kabaddi!
Cover image via: strawberry-global.com
This post is done in partnership with Strawberry Sports Management.