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Five states that are hotbeds of Indian Kabaddi

Published at :November 6, 2022 at 3:40 AM
Modified at :November 6, 2022 at 3:50 AM
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Sathvik Bharadwaj

Khel Now's experts recently discussed how Maharashtra is often not given the credit as much as it should be for its contribution to the sport.

The sport of Kabaddi has a rich legacy, tracing back to mentions in Vedic scriptures and The Mahabharata. Kabaddi has since transcended to become a globally followed sport, with origins in ancient India. Three editions of the Kabaddi World Cup (Standard style) happened in 2004, 2007, and 2016, with India emerging victorious on all occasions. Indian men's and women's Kabaddi teams have dominated the Asian Games too, winning 9 Golds, one Silver, and a Bronze medal. The league has seen players across India from many states take to the mat. The reach of the sport has expanded in PKL Season 9, as Jammu and Kashmir’s Lucky Sharma became the first player from the state to make his PKL debut. Sri Lankan duo Thanushan Laxmamohan and Aslam Saja have also earnt their caps for their respective clubs.

Khel Now TV's show Bol Kabaddi Khel Kabaddi recently had a discussion between Mohit Chhillar, Rohit Baliyan and Preetam Chhillar over the contribution of some of the states to the sport. From the traditional powerhouses to the stars of tomorrow, these are the five Indian states who are at the heart of Kabaddi’s continued success and have the highest player representation across teams.

5. Haryana

The surname ‘Narwal’ has been synonymous with Indian Kabaddi. Players and coaches from Haryana are the driving forces behind several PKL teams. On average, above 50 players from Haryana find their place among the 12 franchises every season. In Haryana, even cricket takes a back seat to Kabaddi. Numerous Kabaddi tournaments happen in the town of Sonepat with huge attendance figures. These tournaments are the breeding ground for upcoming stars. Haryana has been a strong force in the National Games too, competing with the Services and Railways outfits for top honours.

4. Tamil Nadu

Considered the place from where the name ‘Kabaddi’ gets its origin, the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu has been successful in the progression of the sport. Inter-district tournaments are played at a very competitive level, and this has produced some legends of Kabaddi. Dharmaraj Cheralathan is a phenomenon and continues to be respected and idolized by everyone. K Baskaran is one of the most successful coaches in the PKL.

3. Maharashtra

Kabaddi is widely admired by the people of Maharashtra. It was the first Indian state to form an inter-state league in 2015 for both men and women in Kabaddi. Stars such as Kashiling Adake, Girish Maruti Ernak, and Rishank Devadiga helped Maharashtra win the Senior Nationals Title in 2018 after an 11-year gap, paving the way for a younger generation of players to follow up. Puneri Paltan duo Aslam Inamdar and Akash Shinde did just that, carrying Maharashtra to the finals of the 69th Senior Kabaddi Nationals held this year. Despite losing to the all-stars Railways outfit, Maharashtra will remain one of the torch-bearers of the sport for many years to come.

2. Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh was the Gold Medal winner of the 36th National Games. They beat Maharashtra 27-23 in a low-scoring thriller. Comprising a well-balanced squad with loads of PKL experience, Uttar Pradesh has been a consistent team across national competitions. They boast of having the 'Poster Boy' of Indian Kabaddi, Rahul Chaudhari. Rahul is a World Cup winner and one of the best raiders in the sport.

1. Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is quickly emerging as an unstoppable force in Women’s Kabaddi. They remained unbeaten throughout the 66th Senior National Women’s Kabaddi championships. However, they missed out on gold by a single point to Maharashtra women in the National Games. Himachal has also seen some luminaries in the men’s team, with Ajay Thakur finding his place among the legends of the Pro Kabaddi League. U Mumba captain Surinder Singh and defender Vishal Bhardwaj also hail from Himachal Pradesh.




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