2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Youngsters Pave The Way For Kabaddi In England - News

Youngsters Pave The Way For Kabaddi In England

17 September 2016

Kabaddi in England has been on the rise for a while now, and the English kabaddi team has developed from a fledgling group to the formidable force they are today. 

It all started with Ashok Das, founder of the England Kabaddi Association, and a man with the vision to bring the sport to England. He wanted to set up a team but didn’t know how to go about it. He also had to work against the low awareness of the sport, especially rectangular kabaddi. That’s where a group of youngsters came in to transform his dream into reality. 

The tide turned in Das’ favour when he came across the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, an NGO set up to spread social and cultural awareness. He witnessed incredible talent at the organisation’s national sporting events that made him realise he had a ready pool of talented players and a network that could be leveraged. 

He selected a few boys and began the task of transforming them into a side to be reckoned with. The players were already familiar with a very basic rectangular style, so he worked on teaching them the proper rules and techniques. Week by week, they improved and refined their game, strength and flexibility. 

Most of the players were youngsters, who took inspiration from the sport to form their own kabaddi clubs at their universities. This led to more awareness as the sport gained recognition. There are currently six established kabaddi clubs in England, including the Imperial College Kabaddi Club and the UoB Kabaddi Club. The National Universities Kabaddi League sees these teams compete against each other while other tournaments are based on location. With the addition of the university teams, there was a surge in the popularity of the sport across the country. Many young athletes adopted kabaddi and soon, Das had a much larger talent pool to select his players from. 

The players for the 2016 World Cup have been selected based on their fitness and level of commitment. They are all regular players who have participated in domestic tournaments. The national team is well prepared for the World Cup, having trained for over a year now. 

Many of the current players now pursue high-profile careers in dentistry and pharmacy among others, but their passion for kabaddi remains and they balance the game with their work. Kabaddi remains a driving force for them, and a real source of motivation.