The Scotland team, the underdogs in the third edition of World Cup Kabaddi, plan to promote this rural Punjabi sport in their country from next year by not only organising tournaments, but also ensuring that the game is played by students.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the manager and coach of the team, Prem Singh, said: “We assembled this team only in the last two months. Nobody use to play this sport in Scotland. But next year, our team will come here and win.”
He added: “A couple of months ago, we received an invitation from the Punjab Kabaddi Association and decided to come here. The players of this team are all the in age group of 18 to 24 years. Mostly students of Strathclyde University, they are all rugby players.”
“After the team returns to Scotland, these players will teach kabaddi to others, as currently, I am the only kabaddi coach in Scotland,” said Singh — the only Punjabi in the team. In the next six months, 30 players will be selected, among whom, 14 will make it to the final team.
In the last two months, infrastructure for kabaddi has been built in Scotland. “The Scottish Kabaddi Association spoke to several universities and it was decided that we will just not take the team to Punjab for the World Cup but also play the game back here. In April, Scotland Inter-University Kabaddi Cup and Scotish Kabaddi Championship will be held in July to promote the game,” said Singh.
While teams from the Scotish army and navy will participate in the Kabaddi Championship, in the inter-university event, colleges and university teams will take part. “As 2014 Commonwealth Games will be hosted by Scotland, we plan to play kabaddi as an exhibition match,” said Singh.
“Punjabis’ passion for kabaddi is the same as that of our love for football. Kabaddi caught the world’s attention when the Punjab government conducted the World Cup in 2010 for the first time,” Scottish Captain Biair Hawthorn said.