India and Pakistan are set to renew their rivalry in the six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai which will get underway at the Al Wasl Sports Club from June 22 to 30.
India are clubbed with Pakistan and newcomers Kenya in group A, while group B features Iran, Republic of Korea and Argentina with top two teams from each group making the semifinals.
India will be going up against strong contenders with kabaddi maestros Iran and Republic of Korea successfully proving their prowess in the Asian Games and Kabaddi World Cup.
Republic of Korea had beaten India in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup opener, which could be a motivation for the men in blue to reverse the result this time around in the semi-final or final.
“Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 will give us the chance to go up against the best teams and we’ll go all out to gun for the trophy,” India coach Srinivas Reddy said.
“A tournament of this stature does well to bring nations together,” Muhammad Sarwar Secretary General Pakistan kabaddi Federation said.
“I already see a place for kabaddi in the African Games in the near future,” Laventer Oguta, Kenya Kabaddi Federation president who doubles up as the coach, said.
All eyes would be on football nation Argentina who are new to the sport and their president Ricardo Acuna said: “The introduction of kabaddi to Argentina has redefined sports participation. This will surely be a moment of reckoning for Argentina’s kabaddi talent.”
The tournament will surely see the emergence of new talents in the meet organised by the International Kabaddi Federation in partnership with Star India Pvt Ltd who will air the matches live.
IKF president Janardan Singh Gehlot said they are looking forward to exploring options for a comprehensive international kabaddi calendar that is active annually, successfully pinning kabaddi across the world map.
“Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 is our first step in that direction and will elevate the stature of our sport considerably,” Gehlot said in a release.
This is the very first time an International kabaddi meet of such a huge scale is organised in Dubai.
Speaking on the initiative, a Star India spokesperson said “Kabaddi has always been close to us, given the Pro Kabaddi League. We are excited about the Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 and firmly believe it will give greater impetus to the sport in the international arena.”