LAHORE                     -                Pakistan and Iran won the opening matches of circle style Kabaddi World Cup 2020 here at the Punjab Stadium on Sunday.

In the first match of the opening day, hosts Pakistan thrashed Canada 64-24. Pakistan’s kabaddi players Lala Obaidullah, skipper Irfan Mana, Bilal Javed and Khalid Bhatti exhibited excellent performances and played major role in Pakistan’s huge triumph. Pakistan raiders and stoppers took control of the match right from the beginning and did not give their opponents any room to settle down. The Canadian team tried their best but they could accumulate only 24 points.

The second match of the first day was played between Iran and Sierra Leone, where Iran emerged as winners with a margin of 60-19. The players of both the sides displayed quality kabaddi skills and techniques but Iran players played better kabaddi and outperformed their opponents to win the match.

Earlier in the mammoth opening ceremony, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi graced the occasion as guests of honour. The CM declared the beginning of Kabaddi World Cup during his brief speech. CM Usman Buzdar and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi were warmly received upon reaching the Punjab Stadium. Then they saw march-past of all the participating teams and other cultural performances.

Punjab Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs and Tourism Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti, Vice-Chairman SBP Rao Zahid Qayyum, Secretary Sports Punjab Ehsan Bhutta, Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh, Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) President Ch Shafay Hussain, Secretary Rana Sarwar and captains of all participating teams were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Ch Pervez Elahi said it’s nice to see such a major kabaddi tournament at home ground. “I’m hopeful that this grand Kabaddi World Cup will be a successful event, which will prove to be a steppingstone for promotion of the game among youth. Kabaddi is our culture and it is the game of our soil. The notable role of Sports Board Punjab also can’t be neglected for the promotion of sports culture and holding Kabaddi World Cup.”

Punjab Sports Minister Rai Taimoor said holding the Kabaddi World Cup in Pakistan is definitely a big achievement of Punjab government. “We are promoting sports culture across the province as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. We say welcome to all the guest teams from the core of our heart in the Kabaddi World Cup 2020.”

“We have full support from Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar for the holding grand event like Kabaddi World Cup in a befitting manner. We will also hold major events of other games in future as well. Pakistan is a peaceful country and we know how to provide top hospitality to our guests. The Kabaddi World Cup will send a peaceful message to entire world that Pakistan is a safe country for hosting all kind of sports.”