Bollywood star Sonakshi Sinha intends to make the sport of kabaddi more glamorous. Yesterday, the Dabaang girl announced her association with the World Kabaddi League (WKL) as the co-owner of the United Kingdom franchise along with the Hayre Group named 'United Singhs'.
Bollywood actor Sonakshi Sinha at an event to announce her association with the World Kabaddi League in the city yesterday. PIc/Sayed Sameer Abedi
On why she chose to buy a kabaddi team, Sonakshi shot back: "Why not kabaddi? I have been fond of sports from the time I was in school. I was the goalkeeper of my school's football team. A lot of importance is being given to cricket and it's high time we shift focus to an Indian sport like kabaddi which is earthy and rooted to our culture."
In fact, it was a recent film role that inspired her to invest in kabaddi. "I was bad at kabaddi as a kid and have faint memories of it. It was during the shooting of Tevar where Arjun Kapoor plays the role of a kabaddi champ that gave me a clear idea of the sport. That's when the organisers approached me with the idea of buying a team, and I was quite fascinated."
Apart from Akshay Kumar, and Yo Yo Honey Singh who also own teams in the WKL, other Bollywood celebrities like John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Shilpa Shetty have been promoting different sports like football, mixed martial arts, etc.
Sonakshi felt the addition of glamour would only benefit sport. "People watch our movies and they know who we are. It doesn't shift the focus from the sport. Instead, I feel there is nothing wrong in making the sport and the sportsperson glamorous," said the actor, who likes watching tennis and is a huge fan of Serbian Novak Djokovic and Swiss ace Roger Federer.
World Kabaddi League is a global league aimed at promoting kabaddi as a professional sport. WKL, beginning in London on August 9, will have 10 teams — five Indian and five international and will be played across 16 Indian and international venues that include Bhatinda, Jalandhar, New Delhi, Ludhiana, London, Brussels, Birmingham, Paris, New York, etc. WKL will be played in a double round robin format with each team comprising 10 players. Most matches will be on weekends. The event will be telecast on Sony Six.