Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Mr Kiren Rijiju has assured that the Indian government would make efforts to include kabaddi into the 2024 Olympic Games slated to be held in Paris, France.
While responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Rijiju said, “Kabaddi is an indigenous sport and that the government would make efforts to take it to the Olympics.” Rajyavardhan Rathore, the former Olympic medalist held this ministerial berth in the previous government.
In the Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018, Rathore had remarked, “Hopefully kabaddi will very soon become a global sport and we will see it emerge as a strong contender for an Olympic sport. It has got all the qualities to become an Olympic sport. It has got speed, agility, power and teamwork. Hopefully, when it comes to Olympics we will clinch the first gold medal.”
At a different event, he had again reiterated that the sport could become a part of the Olympic event. He had observed, “Because the sport involves very less equipment and has a mix of strength, ability, speed and thinking, I am sure that such a wonderful sport will be accepted by the entire world and it will eventually come into the Olympics.”
On the other hand, the sports ministry clarified on the fact that they do not have any direct role in this process. They stressed that it was essential for the International Kabaddi Federation to take adequate actions for the same. The ministry affirmed, “For promotion and development of kabaddi, the ministry is supplementing the efforts of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India by providing support for training, competitive exposure within the country and abroad.”
Kabaddi has been a part of the Asian Games since 1990. The Indian men’s and women’s teams boast of a fantastic record as the former have won seven gold medals and a silver one in their eight appearances so far. Their women counterparts have emerged victorious with gold medals twice whilst they had to settle for the silver one once in their three outings until now.
In the South Asian Games, the sport was introduced in 1985. The Indian team has been a dominant force here too as they have won finished first on ten occasions and came as the runner-ups once in the 11 times that they participated in the tournament.