More international representation in vivo Pro Kabaddi is the only way to make the sport truly global, feels Sharma.
With the second day of the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 player auction coming to a conclusion, excitement around the sport is starting to build once again. A number of overseas players were picked up by teams with Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh being the most expensive one of the lot.
In a Press Conference held after the overseas player auction, Charu Sharma, one of the founders of Mashal Sports and vivo Pro Kabaddi, explained how the popularity of overseas players in the league can help the spread of kabaddi internationally
“We have always maintained that the appeal of kabaddi as a sport goes far beyond India,” he said, “The inclusion of these overseas players in various teams not only helps to add international flavour to the league but also strengthens the popularity of the sport in those countries.”
As an example to showcase how the sport has grown, Sharma also mentioned the Kabaddi World Cup where a number of countries where kabaddi is not traditionally played turn up to compete.
“The biggest benefit kabaddi has is that it does not require a lot of specialised equipment or infrastructure for people to get started. That is one of the main reasons it has become so available to other countries and they have accepted it whole-heartedly.”
However, Sharma also stressed that it is only through the inclusion of more overseas players in a competitive league like vivo Pro Kabaddi that the sport can truly flourish in other countries.
“That is the only way for the sport to get truly international recognition,” said Sharma, “We have been trying to get more overseas players in the player pool so that they too can get consistent experience of playing at the highest level and promote the sport where they live.”
Though the path may be long, Sharma was positive that it is only a matter of time before kabaddi becomes one of the premiere international sports.
“It will require patience since the league is still in its early years. But I’m convinced that the explosion in the sport’s international popularity is just waiting to happen,” he concluded.