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February 9, 2020

India arrive, Kabaddi World Cup set to begin today


February 9, 2020

KARACHI: India on Saturday arrived in Lahore via Wagah border as Pakistan is set to host the Kabaddi World Cup (circle style) for the first time from Sunday (today).

This is the seventh edition of the global event. India hosted and won all the previous six editions.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar will grace the opening ceremony which will be held at the Punjab Stadium on Sunday (today) at 4pm.

Pakistan Kabaddi Federation’s (PKF) Secretary Mohammad Sarwar told ‘The News’ on Saturday that India, Canada, Australia, Sierra Leone and England had arrived in Lahore. The teams from Germany, Azerbaijan and Iran had landed in Pakistan on Thursday night.

“The Kenyans are stuck; we are not sure whether they will be able to reach,” Sarwar added.

Punjab Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs and Tourism Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti welcomed the kabaddi teams, including India, on Saturday during a media briefing.

Also present on the occasion were PKF President Chaudhry Shafay Hussain, Secretary Rana Sarwar, Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh and captains of all teams.

Taimoor said it was a proud moment for all of them to host the first-ever Kabaddi World Cup on Pakistan’s soil. “It is the best time for us to show Pakistan’s soft image to international community. Pakistan is a peaceful country. Holding a grand Kabaddi World Cup is a clear message for India and rest of the world that Pakistani people are sports loving. Punjab government has made the best security arrangements for all guest teams,” he added.

Taimoor said that Punjab CM Buzdar would inaugurate the Kabaddi World Cup. “We have also sent a request to Prime Minister Imran Khan to grace the closing ceremony as the chief guest,” he added.

Answering a question regarding Pakistan players’ preparation and diet, Taimoor said Pakistani players are in excellent shape. “Our top experts imparted the best training to national kabaddi players during a two-month long training camp. Our players also got international level diet,” he added.

Chaudhry Shafay thanked Punjab government and Sports Board Punjab for making excellent arrangements for the Kabaddi World Cup.

Sarwar said that all the matches of the World Cup would be organised in a transparent manner. “For this purpose, International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) has deputed observers and neutral match referees,” he added.

Earlier, Taimoor received the Indian team at the hotel while other foreign outfits were warmly received by Sports Board Punjab at Allama Iqbal International Airport on Saturday.

The event is being organised jointly by Punjab government, Sports Board Punjab (SBP) and PKF in Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujrat.

Indian captain Gurlal Singh, while talking to media, said there was no security issue in Pakistan. “We are quite happy to participate in Kabaddi World Cup in Pakistan. There is no difference of culture and lifestyle in India and Pakistan. The matches between Pakistan and India will be worth-watching,” Gurlal said.

Iranian and Azerbaijan skippers also expressed their satisfaction about the security situation in Pakistan.

Pakistan captain Muhammad Irfan said his team was well prepared for the big tournament. “We will not disappoint Pakistan kabaddi fans. We have quality players like Shafiq Chishti, Musharraf Janjua and Akmal Dogar and we are confident we will give our best in the event,” he said.