Bathinda, November 30- Amidst thunderous applaud by mammoth gathering, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, today inaugurated the fourth World Cup Kabaddi Tournament, one of the biggest sporting extravaganza in the state.
The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister after unfurling the Kabaddi flag, took salute from the impressive march past of the participating teams, which was led by the mascot of tournament ‘Jaanbaaz’. The Deputy Chief Minister also had interaction with the captains of the participating teams on the dais.
Announcing the opening of this fortnight long much awaited gala sporting event, the Chief Minister said that in this mega event 12 teams in men section and eight teams in the women section would vie for the title. Pertinently 12 teams including India, Pakistan, Argentina, America, England, Canada, Sierra Leone, Iran, Denmark, Kenya, Spain and Scotland would vie for men title whereas in Women section eight teams including that of Pakistan, Mexico, New Zealand, Kenya, America, England, Denmark and India would clash for the title.
The impressive video show depicting the overall development of the state accompanied by the traditional dance ‘Bhangra’ enthralled the audience and forced them to tap their feet. Likewise the gathering also cheered the highlights of the previous world Cup Kabaddi tournaments shown in the stadium.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said that it was his dream that the Kabaddi must be included in the Olympics adding that the day was not far away when this dream would become a reality. He said that there was a time when this game was played only in India and that too particularly in Punjab. However Mr. Badal said that it was a matter of great pride for them that this game was now equally popular in nations across the globe, a glaring example of which was the presence of a number of foreign teams in the tournament.
The Chief Minister said that another matter of great pride and satisfaction was that a number of women teams were participating in this tournament with full zeal. Patting the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Badal said that as a Minister incharge of Sports affairs he had revolutionized the field of sports in the state. He said that the vision of Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal was proving to be a boon for the state government for channelizing the unbounded energy of youth in sports.
The Chief Minister said that in another path breaking initiative the state government has recognized the game of Kabaddi by including it in gradation list of sports. He said that the state government was also duty bound to preserve the rich legacy of Hockey, which was also our mother game. Likewise Mr. Badal said that the state government was making all out efforts for promoting games in the state.
The Chief Minister further said that to motivate the players from the state for exhibiting their rare talent and making the state proud by getting laurels for it in the international sports events like Olympics, their government has considerably enhanced the award money from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2.25 crore to the sports persons winning Gold Medal, from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.01 crore for silver and from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 51 lakh for Bronze medal in Olympics. Mr. Badal also said that eminent sportspersons, who have brought laurels, have been given government jobs adding that as many as 10 players who have won medals in different international sports have been appointed DSPs.
Earlier in his welcome address the Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that it was the bounden duty of the state government to popularize this rural game in every nook and corner of the state. He said that already due to the stupendous efforts of the state government the game has became famous even in those countries, which had not even heard about it. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that this time the teams of New Zealand, Kenya and Mexico would have their citizens in their teams adding that in women section Pakistan and Mexican teams were participating for the first time.
Terming this a historic day, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the journey of Kabaddi had started about four years ago but owing to the concerted efforts the game which was once confined to the villages of the state was now figuring prominently on the map of world. He said that nobody had ever thought this rural game would be played across the globe but due to all out efforts of the state government the game has became popular in the entire. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that he was extremely happy that the fourth world Cup Kabaddi tournament has commenced with 20 teams adding that he coming fortnight would witness hectic sports activity in the state as tough competition would take place between the teams.
Reiterating the commitment of the state government to promote the sports in the state, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the state government was giving world class facilities to the players. He said that the steps were afoot to upgrade and strengthen the massive sports infra structure in the state. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal welcomed the players and wish them huge success.
The star attraction of the tournament and leading actress of bollywood Ms. Priyanka Chopra during her brief address recalled her association with the region by asserting that she hails from the city of Ambala. Expressing gratitude to the state government for making her a part of this mega event, she thanked the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister for inviting her to witness this gala event. Lauding the efforts made by state government for promoting rural sport of Kabaddi, Ms. Chopra also hoped that Kabaddi would become more popular across the world. “I wish that the state of Punjab shall reach the zenith by witnessing more development and prosperity of its people” she added.
The marvelous light and sound show during the tournament added to the zing of this mega event. Famous comedian Mr. Jaswant Singh entertained the public in the starting of the event while Ms. Satinder Satti conducted the stage. Scintillating performances of leading actor of the tinsel world Ms. Priyanka Chopra besides the Punjabi singers Mr. Gippi Grewal, Mr. Sharry Maan and Ms. Pooja regaled the huge crowd.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included Cabinet Ministers Mr. Chunni Lal Bhagat, Mr. Sikander Singh Maluka and Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Advisor to Chief Minister on Media and National Affairs Mr. Harcharan Bains, Assistant Media Advisor to state government Mr. Harjinder Sidhu, Indian National Lok Dal leader Mr. Abhay Chautala and Secretary Sports Mr. Ashok Gupta.