After drawing flak in hockey, Pakistani kabaddi team emerges as favourite

  • Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times, Nabha
  • Updated: Dec 15, 2014 23:27 IST

Kabaddi fever gripped Nabha as a heavy rush was witnessed during the fifth World Kabaddi Cup matches held at Punjab Public School on Monday.

People from nearby areas thronged the venue which was changed from the Government Ripudaman College stadium at the eleventh hour due to heavy rainfall.

The shortage of seating capacity could not dampen the spirits of the audience as people were seen glued to the projectors, ensuring they did not miss even a single moment in the match.
The electrifying match between Pakistan and Canada remained the star event of the day, with crowds cheering both the teams.

Though the Pakistan hockey team had drawn flak due to their obscene gestures at the recently concluded Champion's Trophy in India, the neighbour's kabaddi team remained the crowd's favourite.
"It's always a pleasure to play kabaddi in Punjab as the crowd motivates players and boosts their morale. Moreover, it is a wonderful feeling when players get such a response in a neighbouring country," said a Pakistani player.

The legacy continues

Two father-son duos in Canada's team continue the legacy of playing kabaddi in Canada too.

Even after shifting to Canada two decades ago, both Harjit Ghotra and Gurdeep Singh Aujla not only continued their passion for the sport, but also taught their children, Vicky Ghotra and Daljinder Aujla, their tactics.
"My father, who is currently a part of the coaching staff, always wanted me to be a professional kabaddi player. We both played from Springdale Club in Canada and are now representing the national team," said Vicky, who is an IT professional.

His father Harjit, who originally belongs to Ludhiana, said he went to Canada in search of greener pastures but never stopped playing the village sport.

"I allowed my son to work during morning hours and made him practice every evening for the national team," he added.

Similarly, both Gurdeep and Daljinder followed the same path as the former said he wanted his son to make a mark for himself in a game that is associated with his state and country.


The Indian and Pakistani men's teams scored a hat trick by defeating their opponents in two separate matches.
In the first women's match, Azerbaijan defeated USA by 38-32 while in the men's match, USA overpowered Australia 51-33. In the third match, Pakistan got the better of Canada (45-35), while Argentina lost to England (64-22).
In the last match, India defeated Iran 53-39. Meanwhile, two Iranian players were injured during the matches and were referred to the Government Rajindra Hospital.

Civil surgeon Dr HS Bali said the condition of both the players was stable and they were brought to Patiala for further tests.

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