Chandigarh: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the State Government was working in league with other Kabbadi playing nations to devise modalities to include Kabbadi in the Commonwealth and Olympics games.
Stating this here today while announcing the schedule of the fifth edition of World Kabaddi Cup being held in Punjab from December 6 to 20 with a total prize money of Rs 5.27 crore, the Deputy CM said he would soon meet Union Minister of youth affairs and sports Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal to take up this matter with concerned Commonwealth and Olympics games committees.
Mr. Badal said the initiative of Punjab government to organize World Kabbadi Cup had provided international exposure to this mother game of Punjab. He said after successful organization of world Kabbadi leagues at national and international level this game was not confined to geographical boundaries of India any longer. “In fact Kabbadi leagues are attracting more spectators than other sports leagues organized in the country”, he added.
Deputy Chief Minister, who also holds sports portfolio, said that he was in dialogue with Kabbadi associations of various nations to explore the strategies for its promotion at international arena and Punjab government would seek support from the Union sports ministry for this purpose.
Announcing the schedule of the Kabaddi Cup (Circle Style), Deputy CM said 19 teams including 11 men and 8 women teams from 14 countries would vie for top honours at the World Cup. He informed that in mens section, 11 national teams from USA, Iran, Pakistan, Denmark, Australia, England, Spain, Canada, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden and India would take part in the tournament while in the women’s event teams from USA, India, England, Denmark, Pakistan, New Zealand, Mexico and Azerbaijan would participate in the world cup. “Denmark and Azerbaijan in men and women sections respectively are taking part for the first time” he added.
He informed that opening ceremony would be held at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium Jalandhar on December 6 and the concluding event with men’s final would be held at Badal village stadium in Sri Muktsar Sahib on December 20. Women’s final including contests for third and fourth positions in both sections would be played at sports stadium Barnala on December 19. The semifinals of both men and women would be hosted at Kabaddi Stadium, Dirba in Sangrur district.
Giving details of awards, Mr. Badal said in the men’s section the winners would get prize money of Rs 2 crore and the runners up and third position holders would get Rs 1 crore and Rs 51 lakh respectively. He said in the women’s section the prize money for first three positions would be Rs 1.00 crore, Rs 51.00 lakhs and Rs 25.00 lakhs respectively.
Highlighting the initiatives taken by the state government to promote sports, Deputy Chief Minister informed that Punjab is the first state in the country to create dedicated sports fund to develop sports infrastructure. Adding he said Punjab was spending Rs 80 to Rs 90 crores per year for sports infrastructure and activities and contemplating to increase this budget to more than Rs 100 crores from next year. He said SAD-BJP government had setup 10 multipurpose stadiums and six astroturf Hockey stadiums. “We can proudly claim that out of 3 world class astroturfs in India two are in Punjab”, he said.
Deputy Chief Minister informed that Punjab government will launch new job policy in next cabinet meeting for sportspersons bringing laurels to the state by registering victories at international sports events. Adding he said that under this policy players recruited on government jobs would have to spend initial 10 years in sports department on deputation to contribute in developing sports talent. “We will also ensure promotions to the players besides fixing incentives for coaches”, he assured.
Mr. Badal also said that the state had already set up Punjab Institute of Sports at SAS Nagar with 11 different sports disciplines. He said this first of its kind sports institute would work on the policy of ‘catch them young’ for budding players to provide world class coaching, psychologists, diet, training and equipments free of cost to budding sportspersons. He added that state government has recently given cash awards to the tune of Rs. 5.43 crore to the medallists of Asian and Commonwealth games and 10 sportspersons were appointed as DSPs.
Stressing on the need to enhance budgetary support to sports by the union government, Mr. Badal said every fifth person in the world is Indian and still we are far behind many countries in getting medals during international events. He said he would personally request Prime Minister and Union Sports Minister for substantial increase in sports budget so that Indian players could compete at the international level.
Among others present on the occasion included Pawan Kumar Tinu CPS, Jangveer Singh Media Advisor to Deputy CM, Mr. P.S. Aujla Principal Secretary to Deputy CM, Ashok Gupta Secretary Sports, Mr. Shivdular Singh Dhillon Special Secretary Sports & Youth Services, Rahul Tiwari Special Principal Secretary to Deputy CM and TS Dhaliwal Director Sports.