Thanks to Pro Kabaddi League, the sport of Kabaddi has reached another pedestal and credit goes to organizers, franchise owners, teams, and fans for cheering their favorite teams in the stadium and watching those games live on television.
In terms of viewership, PKL stands second in the list after IPL and recently but apart from PKL there have been other leagues that are making their presence felt in the kabaddi circuit and one such tournament is the Yuva Kabaddi series.
Recently we had an opportunity to have exclusive interview with Mr Vikas Gautam(Director of Yuva Kabaddi) so let’s share the excerpts of the interview one by one:
Q1. Tell us about your experience in Kabaddi?
Vikas Gautam: Kabaddi is a game which originated from India and several people I have come across in my life have at least played Kabaddi once in their life time and also the interest of Kabaddi has reached to another pedestal due to PKL.
Before 2014, Our Indian Kabaddi team used to win gold medals on consistent basis but the players were not so famous back then and the content of Kabaddi wasn’t there and we saw this as an opportunity.
We started with content and then in 2017 onwards we mostly covered articles on analytics and those articles catched the eyeballs of Kabaddi ardent fans.
In 2018, other then PKL there was no content on Kabaddi players but we started covering their interviews and information about these players also there is less tournaments so we explored that space and became organizers who could bring Kabaddi players under one roof.
Our focus was covering every information about particular player so that fans have an idea about their favourite stars.
Q2. Please expand more on Pro Kabaddi League?
Vikas Gautam: PKL helped in reviving Kabaddi with the platform they provided to different players on large scale . Before PKL wasn’t in existence, Indian railways team used to play this game even police team used to play this game under sports quota.
Before PKL, Kabaddi was there and players used to bring glory in Asian Games on regular basis visibility of those players wasn’t there and after PKL money came into the game.
Every player started receiving money based on their skills and those players are playing in front of the camera and the skills of the players have changed a lot and there is an analyst who strategizes everything and also the game has moved scientifically.
After Cricket, Kabaddi is the second most popular sport in our country and the major driver post 2014 to popularize this great game is Pro Kabaddi League(PKL).
Q3. Tell us little about village ecosystem of Kabaddi?
Vikas Gautam: Overall Haryana is a state which I have personally observed and there are nurseries in the state where government coaches are training students about the intricacies of the game.
There are so many private academies in the states who teaches the nuances of the game to young players. In the interiors of Maharashtra, senior train juniors also some of the stalwart players run their own academy in the state.
Government also support these players and there is a policy in Haryana if certain number of players are willing to learn this game then a coach is appointed to teach them the nuances of the game.
Also there are some occasional coaches who are willing to impart the lessons of Kabaddi to ardent players.
Q4. Elaborate us more on talent identification system of Kabaddi in our country?
Vikas Gautam: Again I would start my answer pre 2014, there was no data back then but now we have numbers where we know about players of different state who are doing well in different tournaments.
There are national tournaments also every state conducts state championship where players take part in huge numbers to showcase their skills at grand stage.
There are other tournaments like- Indian railways and Police participate in the marquee event where everything is observed right from fitness to moves of every player is observed by selectors at different levels.
In the recently Khelo India University Games we have witnessed different Kabaddi talents.
Q5. What is the future of Kabaddi in India?
Vikas Gautam: See Cricket has a long journey and Kabaddi will flourish in years to come and past 3-4 decade we have seen players like Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Kohli and the impact of the game has been filled in our minds and the same will happen with Kabaddi in coming years.
The visibility of players will increase but to enhance that we need Kabaddi tournaments 24 by 7 for every 12 months they should not be restricted with three month window of PKL when these players will play Kabaddi on regular basis and fans can easily connect with them.
So in simple words we need to increase the number of tournaments and the association is working hard that the game of Kabaddi can be included in upcoming Olympics.