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World Kabaddi League is an unofficial league: International Federation chief

There hasn't even been a single raid yet, but the hu tu tu has already begun. With both the Pro Kabaddi League (July 26-August 31) as well as the World Kabaddi League (beginning on August 9) claiming either tourney is for the betterment of the game, the International Kabaddi Federation has come out with a sort of a clarification for the 'benefit of the average sports fan'.

IKF CEO Deoraj Chaturvedi
IKF CEO Deoraj Chaturvedi 

According to Deoraj Chaturvedi, Chief Executive Officer of the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) and Assistant Secretary of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), the one significant difference between PKL and WKL is that the former is official and the latter unofficial.

"The IKF and AKFI has approved PKL, while the organisers of the WKL have not even bothered to seek the approval of either both bodies despite we being the official governing body for the sport worldwide and in India respectively," Chaturvedi told mid-day yesterday.

There is a massive difference between the two formats of kabaddi on display too. "While PKL will be played on the lines of international kabaddi tournaments, WKL is circle kabaddi — a maverick version of kabaddi that was invented in pre-partition Punjab and is only practised in the Punjabs of India and Pakistan and by those who have migrated from that region abroad," added Chaturvedi, who wants to ensure that the average sports fan understands kabaddi better.

Different formats
"International kabaddi has a weight limit of 80 Kg (though PKL offers a limit of 85 Kg) and is played on an anti-skid rubber mat by athletes in smart sports kits. On the other hand, there is no weight limit in circle kabaddi which is played inside a huge circle by near-naked pehelwans. In normal kabaddi, when one player tags another during a raid, the opposition team can help in capturing the raider.

Gotcha! Indian players capture Ebad Dalili of Iran as he tries to raid during the men's kabaddi final at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games in China. Pic/Getty Images
Gotcha! Indian players capture Ebad Dalili of Iran as he tries to raid during the men's kabaddi final at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games in China. Pic/Getty Images

However, in circle kabaddi, when one player tags another player during a raid, it becomes a one-on-one between the two and no other player can interfere. Since there is now weight limit in circle kabaddi, one-on-one tags are unfair because a heavier raider will obviously have an advantage over a lighter defender.

Besides, circle kabaddi has been known to breed corruption too, whereas international kabaddi is promoted by National Olympic Committees of various nations thereby vouching for its authenticity," explained Chaturvedi.

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