Jalandhar: One of the biggest sporting extravaganzas of the country, the fifth World Cup Kabbadi today began with a great pomp and show as the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, inaugurated this mega sporting event here at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium.
The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister after unfurling the Kabaddi flag, took salute from the impressive march past of the captains of the participating teams, which was led by the mascot of tournament ‘Jaanbaaz’. The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister also had interaction with the captains of the participating teams on the dais.
Announcing the opening of this fortnight long much awaited gala sporting event, the Chief Minister said that in this mega event 11 teams in men section and eight teams in the women section would vie for the title. Pertinently 11 teams including India, Pakistan, Argentina, United States of America, England, Canada, Australia, Iran, Denmark, Spain and Sweden would vie for men title whereas in Women section eight teams including that of Ajerbaijan, Pakistan, Mexico, New Zealand, United States of America, England, Denmark and India would clash for the title.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said that the state government has been making all out efforts for promoting sports across the state to channelize the unbounded energy of youth in a positive manner. He said that the new sports policy of the state government was a right step towards this direction as it stipulates jobs along with monetary benefits for the players of the state. Mr. Badal said that this sports policy would give a major fillip to the sporting activity in the state adding that due to persistent efforts of the state government the sports persons of the state would bring laurels for the country.
Congratulating Deputy Chief Minister for organizing this world cup for the fifth consecutive term, the Chief Minister said that Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal deserves kudos for transforming the mother game of Punjab-kabaddi from a rural sport to a global event. He said that it was a matter of great pride for them that this game was now equally popular in nations across the globe, a glaring example of which was the presence of a number of foreign teams in the tournament. Mr. Badal said that due to the stupendous efforts of the state government the game has already became famous even in those countries, which had not even heard about it.
The Chief Minister also said that the day was not far away when this game would also be included in Olympics as the Deputy Chief Minister and the state government were making persistent efforts for it. Likewise, he said that the state government was also duty bound to preserve the rich legacy of Hockey, which was also our mother game. Listing the efforts made by the state government for promoting sports in the state, Mr. Badal said that state government was leaving no stone unturned to popularize games in Punjab. Mr. Badal said that eminent sportspersons, who have brought laurels for the state were being given government jobs adding that many players who have won medals in different international sports have been appointed DSPs.
The Chief Minister also said in another path breaking initiative from this year the state government has decided to not only confine this mega event only to the big cities. He said that for the first time this event would be held in the rural stadia’s like that of Gurdaspur, Dhudike (Moga), Roopnagar, Khanna (Ludhiana), Chohla Sahib (Tarntaran), Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), Hoshiarpur, Nabha (Patiala), Jalalabad (Fazilka) and Mehta (Amritsar), Dhirba and Badal so as to popularize this mother game of Punjab in every nook and corner of the state.
Earlier addressing the audience, Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that SAD-BJP government was working on an aggressive campaign to produce maximum number of trained sportspersons and to have more Punjabi players in the Indian contingent for Rio Olympics. He asserted that Punjab government’s mission to promote mother game of Punjab, Kabaddi, yielding its fruitful results.
He said that successful organizations of 4 editions of World Cup Kabbadi has encouraged the organization of World Kabbadi leagues at national and international level which increased its fans and followers across the boundaries. Adding he said that it could easily be judged from the fact that Kabbadi teams from countries like Sweden and Azerbaijan were participating in this event for the first time. He expressed confidence that 5th World Cup Kabbadi would put this game to another higher orbit of glory and Punjab would realize its endeavour to include Kabbadi in Olympics.
Highlighting the initiatives taken by Punjab government for creating sports friendly environment in the state, Mr. Badal said that government had already set up Punjab Institute of Sports at SAS Nagar having special directorates for 11 different sports disciplines. He said this first of its kind sports institute would work on the policy of ‘catch them young’ to provide the budding players a nursery to flourish their talent. Deputy Chief Minister informed that at Punjab Institute of sports world class coaching, psychologists, diet, training and equipments would be provided free of cost to young sportspersons. He stressed that Punjab has abundant sports talent and Punjab government would not left any stone unturned to enable the players to participate and win Olympic medals for India.
The star attraction of the tournament and leading actress of bollywood Ms. Sonakshi Sinha mesmerized the audience with her dazzling performance. Likewise, star of tinsel world Mr. Arjun Kapoor also regaled the audiences with their superb performances. Leading Punjabi singers Mr. Sharry Maan and Harshdeep entertained the audience. On the occasion Russian Girls Fire Act added to zing of the event.
Earlier, Olympian Mr. Palwinder Cheema brought the baton of games and Olympian Mr. Balbir Singh (senior) triggered of games flame from the stage.
On the occasion the impressive video show depicting the overall development of the state accompanied by the traditional dance ‘Bhangra’ enthralled the audience and forced them to tap their feet. Likewise the gathering also cheered the highlights of the previous world Cup Kabaddi tournaments shown in the stadium.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included Cabinet Ministers Mr. Chunni Lal Bhagat, Jathedar Ajit Singh Kohar, Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema, Mr. Sohan Singh Thandal, Rajya Sabha MPs Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Mr. Pawan Kumar Teenu, Mr. Avinash Chander and Mr. KD Bhandari, MLAs Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Mr. Pargat Singh, Mr. Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Mr. Gurpartap Singh Wadala, Media Advisor to Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Jangveer Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. SK Sandhu, Special Principal Secretary to Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Manvesh Singh Sidhu, Secretary Sports Mr. Ashok Gupta.