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36 Foreign Women sign up for Kabaddi after Guinness record, HIPSA on- boards key Diaspora members

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Key people from the Indian diaspora community have joined HIPSA as Independent Advisory Council members. Thomas Abraham, an Indian, currently residing in USA and is the founder President and chairman  of the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), is now on the HIPSA advisory board. He  has been influential in the Non-Resident Indian/People of Indian Origin NRI/PIO movement over the last four decades. Kamal Dandona, well known in the Bollywood Industry, and  who was the vision behind the Bollywood Film Awards in New York, is also on the HIPSA advisory council.

India’s achievement in setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest participation in a Kabaddi exhibition match that was organized by HIPSA,  has evoked International interest. The event on March 24, 2024  at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula, Haryana, added a special significance, given the state’s historical association with Kabaddi. The partnership between the Holistic International Pravasi Sports Association (HIPSA) and the Khattar Government in Haryana for the global promotion of Kabaddi, through a  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has paved the way for greater recognition and popularity of Kabaddi on an international scale, showcasing its rich cultural heritage and athletic prowess. Kabaddi is the State game of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Kabaddi’s Guinness World Record has sparked global interest in the sport!  The sport  has hitherto been more known  in Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, but its appeal seems to be transcending boundaries now. The growing interest from women players in Europe and the Americas is something new, signifying  the sport evolving on the global stage!

Kanthi D Suresh, President HIPSA, said that she had received player interest from women players in countries like Egypt, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico & Argentina, and is keen to host a Global Pravasi Kabaddi League, (GPKL) for women and ensure participation from atleast 15 countries in the first season and take it to 75 countries over the years. It takes Men’s participation in 75 countries and Women’s participation in 45 countries, across all continents, for a sport to be considered to be an Olympic sport. Kabaddi, currently only an Asian games sport, is competed by less than  10 countries . Kabaddi made its first appearance as an exhibition sport at the Asian Games in 1982. Men’s kabaddi has been an Asian Games event since 1990, and women’s kabaddi since 2010. India has dominated the sport at the Asian Games, winning the gold medal in both men’s and women’s events at all editions except for 2018, when Iran won the gold medal in both events.

Rajender Dichpally, another key functionary in HIPSA, is initiating associations between the Kabaddi Community in California & New York, with a large Pravasi Bharti population,  to help in the spread of the Sport.

 

GPKL, with 6 teams in the first Season, scheduled to be held in July this year, is tipped to be having about 36 foreign women across different continents covering Americas, Europe, Oceania, Africa, and  Asia. In a contact sport like Kabaddi, height does give one an advantage while trying for touch points and the bonus. The European women with an average height, a cut above the others, it remains to be seen as to how important a role it may play in the outcome of the match. It is also significant to note that most of them play on the same mat size as their male counterparts.


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