New entrants Gujarat Fortunegiants have stepped up their preparations for the fifth season of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi, which kicks off on July 28 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad. Amid much excitement and anticipation, owners Adani Wilmar Limited launched the team’s official jersey last week at an event in the presence of Gujarat skipper Sukesh Hegde and team coaches Manpreet Singh and Neel Gulia as well as famous Indian wrestler Geeta Phogat.
When asked how the team was preparing ahead of their debut season, Hegde appeared satisfied and said: “We are working hard and are confident to lift the title. Ours is a young team and two Iranian players provide strong defence to our side. Although young, we will show that the team has mettle. We aim to win each game.”
Iranian players Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mohajermighani are certain to beef up the team’s defence but this international influence in Gujarat’s ranks isn’t confined to just players as coach Singh explained. “We are the only team to have an international physiotherapist, who is the best. Players are going through an eight-hour session everyday starting at six in the morning. We are confident of lifting the title,” he said.
Meanwhile, Adani Wilmar managing director Mr Pranav Adani enthused over their new association with the game of kabaddi. "Being among country's top ten companies, our headquarters remains in Gujarat. Entrepreneurship is in our blood, but we also need to promote sports. There are several sports in the country that are not getting their rightful importance, and kabaddi is one of those," he said.
Wrestler Geeta Phogat, gold medallist in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, also welcomed the kabaddi revolution well and truly facilitated by the league. "I am happy to see that kabaddi is being approached in a very professional manner. The players are getting both proper infrastructure and training to succeed," she said.
The Fortunegiants open their campaign on August 01 when they lock horns with Dabang Delhi in the first match of the day in Hyderabad.