LAHORE - Indian kabaddi team arrived here on Thursday to take part in the International Kabaddi Taakra being played from January 8.

Punjab Sports Minister Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti and Director General Sports Punjab Nadeem Sarwar warmly welcomed the distinguished members of Indian kabaddi team here at National Hockey Stadium Thursday. Iran’s kabaddi team has already arrived for taking part in the event.

Jhang will host opening clash between Pakistan Green and India while the grand final clash of the mega event will be staged at Lahore on January 13, this was disclosed by Punjab Sports Minister. Earlier, Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) secretary Rana Sarwar, SBP chief consultant Shahid Faqir Virk and a large number of sports lovers received the Indian kabaddi team at Wahga Border.

The 14-member Indian kabaddi team is led by Partap Singh, Guldeep Singh and Baljit Singh are manager and coach while other members are Harjeet Singh, Deepak Sharma, Angrej Singh, Sandeep Singh, Balinder, Kuldeep Singh, Mikki, Mohit, Autar Singh, Sachin, Naresh, Kulveer, and Shera Singh.

The Minister said Punjab’s four major cities - Lahore, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal and Jhang will host exciting matches of International Kabaddi Taakra. “Pakistan is a peaceful country and we want to convey the peace message through the traditional game of kabaddi,” he added. He said Punjab government is also planning to host kabaddi league in various cities of the province in future.

DG Sports Punjab Nadeem Sarwar said the International Kabaddi Taakra is being organised after 11 years by Punjab government with the collaboration of Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF). “Punjab govt, as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, is making serious efforts for the revival of traditional games especially kabaddi,” he said.

“Kabaddi is one of the oldest traditional games and most popular among the masses. Kabaddi is undoubtedly the identity of Subcontinent especially Punjab. The traditional games like kabaddi keep young generation healthy and active,” he said.

Replying to a query, the DG Sports said the way three top kabaddi powerhouses - Pakistan, India and Iran - are making efforts and holding kabaddi events, it reflects that the future of kabaddi is bright in the world.

Indian Manager Guldeep Singh and captain Partap Singh expressed their pleasure over reaching Lahore for International Kabaddi Taakra. “We have special attachment with kabaddi and it can flourish further if Pakistan and India play regular kabaddi events.”

PKF secretary Rana Sarwar said Pakistan’s two kabaddi teams Green and White will be selected during the National Kabaddi Championship underway at Faisalabad. He thanked Punjab Sports Minister Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti and DG Sports Punjab Nadeem Sarwar for extending the best facilities for promotion of kabaddi.