Over the years, a number of different sports were introduced to Olympics, and even in the 2020 Summer Olympics, five new sports have been added. However, while the grand event for this year has faced a postponement to the next year, proposal to add another sport has come up from none other than India’s Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, and its the revered game of kabaddi!
One of the oldest sport in India and all over the world, kabaddi has achieved a substantial amout of reputation in recent years, with tournaments such as the introduction into the Asian Games, initiation of the Kabaddi World Cup, and even the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League, which has gained a ton of popularity in the country.
Even though kabaddi was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but failed to retain the spot. Although, Kiren Rijiju believes its India’s ultimate aim to include the sport in the grand event.
Speaking in the Online Coaches Knowledge Enhancement session organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Rijiju spoke to over 700 kabaddi coaches across the country.
“Kabaddi has already been included in the Asian Games and now, not just India, but all Asian countries must come together to ensure that the sport in included in the Olympics as well. That is our ultimate goal,” Rijiju was quoted by The Times of India.
“And to achieve that goal we must improve the standard of the game in India and also ensure that we propagate it across geographical locations in India and the rest of the world.” the Sports Minister added.
India has been the most successful team in the Kabaddi World Cup, with winning the tournament three times. The Pro Kabaddi League, since its inauguration back in 2014, has also been a huge success, with a viewer count second to only cricket in India. The 2019 PKL season had gathered over 1.2 billion views worldwide.
In recent past, the World Kabaddi Federation (WKF) has been making efforts to include kabaddi in the Olympics. However, according to International Olympic Committee (IOC), to be included in the Olympics, a sport needs to be played systematically in at least 50 affiliated countries. However at present, 40 countries play the sport.