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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

When all roads led to Ludhiana’s Guru Nanak Stadium for kabaddi finale

Nidhi Bhanot  Ludhiana, December 16, 2012
First Published: 00:28 IST(16/12/2012) | Last Updated: 00:35 IST(16/12/2012)

All roads in Ludhiana led to the Guru Nanak Stadium, the venue of the kabaddi world cup finals and closing ceremony, here on Saturday. While some came to catch a glimpse of Bollywood starlet Katrina Kaif, who performed at the closing ceremony, others came for kabaddi.

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The stadium, which turned into a fortress by the evening, was decked up with flowers, though, on the outside, chaos reigned supreme as Ludhiana municipal corporation struggled to ensure everything went as planned.

Inside the stadium, even police officials were dressed up in formals to escort VVIPs. On Saturday, however, kabaddi won. From college boys to people from far-flung villages, everybody came for the finals. “We bunked college for this,” Jatinder Singh, who came from Jassowal village, said. “Though we are looking forwards to the finals, Katrina Kaif was the bait for most of us.”

The evening started on a celebratory note as India won the women’s final, and the stadium erupted every time a point was scored. “We couldn’t have asked for more,” Jatinder added. 

Earlier, spectators had started trickling into the stadium since the morning. Indian flags, too, were seen in the jam-packed stadium.  Even the overcast sky and the possibility of rain in the cold conditions did not dampen anybody’s spirit.

Such was the rush of spectators that the state government used 600 buses to ferry spectators free-of-cost. While the audience did have the luxury of free transport, women were at the receiving end. The makeshift toilets lacked a roof, and policewomen, too, were among the sufferers.

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