Call it a rural tackle if u will, but circle style kabaddi (better known as Punjab style kabaddi), has overtaken all non-cricketing sport in the country, including tennis and football, as far as total prize money goes.
Chennai Open offers prize money of $ 400,000 (around Rs 1.8 crore). The country’s semi-professional football league offers prize money worth Rs 1.50 crore and a circle style kabaddi event — Pearls World Cup Kabaddi Punjab 2010 —with a prize money of Rs 2.16 crore will be the highest-ever offered by any non-cricketing sport in the country.
The mega event, hosted by the Punjab Government at eight different venues across the state, will kick off from Saturday at Patiala with India facing USA. The 10-day event features nine teams, including USA and UK.
“The tournament has attracted around 15 private sponsors and it is going to be a world class event. It is for the first time in the history of Punjab that a kabaddi tournament is offering prize money in crores," said Bikram Singh Majithia, senior vice-chairperson of the organising committee.
Hosts India have been placed in Pool A while their traditional rivals in Pakistan are in Pool B.
The top two teams from each pool will qualify for semifinals, which will be played at the Sports Stadium in Bathinda on April 10.
The sport, which is mainly played in Punjab, is a huge crowd puller. The foreign teams participating also comprise of Punjabis immigrants to a large extent.