The sport of kabaddi has been gaining popularity far and wide owing mainly to the success of VIVO Pro Kabaddi over the past five seasons. The league has gone from strength to strength with the recently concluded season being the longest in the league’s history but still attracting hordes of fans to the stadium. A number of new countries are also taking to the Indian sport which bodes well for kabaddi but everything comes with its own set of challenges as Patna coach Ram Mehar Singh explained in the press conference after their victory against Gujarat Fortunegiants in the final in Chennai on Saturday.

“We do face language issues in most countries except for the South Asian ones like Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan,” said Singh when asked if language is a barrier while dealing with international players, “When I was involved with the Japanese kabaddi team, for example, I faced a lot of issues. Not just with the language but also with their style of play. But we have co-ordinators on both sides who help us iron out these issues.”

Singh also highlighted how Iranian players, who have been playing in VIVO Pro Kabaddi, have slowly picked up Hindi in order to facilitate communication. “It is mainly a problem for foreign players who are in their first season. Once they play for a couple of seasons here they start adjusting and then they don’t find communication to be such a big problem anymore,” said Singh.

Singh also shed some light on the rising demand for Indian coaches internationally after a sharp increase in the sport’s popularity in recent times. “There have been Indian coaches in Korea, Japan and even Iran earlier,” said Singh, “Right now the demand for Indian coaches is more than ever owing to the support the sport is receiving and the popularity it enjoys among the general public. People across ages, genders and countries are taking to the sport in a way we have never seen before which is fuelling the demand.”