The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) successfully concluded 'Scorecard 2021' on 5th & 6th March, 2021 where leaders from the global sporting landscape shared their views on how sports have tackled the challenges during the pandemic times. In the inaugural session of CII's virtual conference, Shri Kiren Rijiju - Honourable Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, emphasized the need for Kabaddi’s inclusion as part of the Olympic Games.
"Apart from global sports, we are also coming forward with the development of the indigenous sports like Kabaddi. Kabaddi is, of course, an Asian Games sport, but in future, we hope someday Kabaddi will be in the Olympics. We will aggressively push for it." he said.
The 1990 Asian Games saw the introduction of Kabaddi as an Asian Games event and since then Indian National Men’s and Women’s Kabaddi Teams have largely dominated by claiming the gold medals for the most part until their shock defeats against Iran at the 2018 Asian Games with the Indian’s Men’s team claiming Bronze and the women’s team Silver.
In his plea for inclusion, Hon. MYAS Shri Kiren Rijiju urged the UK Sports Minister Mr. Nigel Huddleston MP along with other commonwealth nations to support Kabaddi’s bid. "My colleague, Mr. Nigel, the sports minister of the UK, I will urge you to support Kabaddi to be part of the Olympics, and we would like to push it very strongly. India must have one of the rich indigenous sports in the Olympics. So hopefully, we will push for it. India, UK and all the commonwealth nations must come together for various purposes. So, taking this advantage I would like to urge my colleague that when we talk about Kabaddi to be put into the Olympics, I urge entire commonwealth nations to come together and say that yes Kabaddi has to be there in the Olympics." he said.
Hon. MYAS Shri Kiren Rijiju also hailed the vivo Pro Kabaddi League for bringing India’s own indigenous sport into the limelight. Since the inception of vivo PKL, the game of Kabaddi has grabbed eyeballs from all around the world. The rising fandom and viewership in India were possible because of the model vivo PKL was built upon. He pointed out that the sustainable revenue model of vivo PKL is second to none, and in the years to come, vivo Pro Kabaddi will emerge as one of the most successful leagues in India.
"We all know the success of sports depends on two things, the investments and the revenue generated from the sports because without a sustainable revenue model any sports cannot succeed, it cannot sustain. That is why I'm telling sports federations in India to look out for a better model for a successful league. For example, vivo Pro Kabaddi League which Mr. Anupam Goswami is driving. It is successful because it has a very superb model and we've got very good viewership."
"40 Olympic sports and that is where I see some of the sports like Kabaddi, though it is not an Olympic sport, it's already successful here because of the vivo Pro Kabaddi League. My concentration now is to have successful leagues other than cricket. Pro Kabaddi is already there but I want to see a Pro Kabaddi type in other sporting disciplines," concluded Hon. MYAS Shri Kiren Rijiju.
Day 2 of the CII Scorecard 2021 virtual conference also featured a special message from Indian Kabaddi Athletes who pledged to ‘bring back the Gold’ at the 2022 Asian Games.