Will government announce rewards for Kabaddi team ?

Strangely, not a player from Maharashtra, regarded as a powerhouse in kabaddi, was selected in the Indian team for the World Cup; but someone like Kiran Parmar was deemed good enough to be in the team.

Indian Kabaddi team celebrates after defeating Iran in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup finals.   -  Vijay Soneji

Ahmedabad: Will the Indian kabaddi players, who won the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, bringing down Iran in the final on Saturday evening at the Arena by TransStadia, get a cash windfall ? Only time will tell.

READ: >Ajay Thakur outwits Iran to win India the World Cup

Many of the kabaddi players who have been part of one or multiple Asian Games Gold Medal winning Indian teams and those who have not even played for India may be better off these days with Mashal Sports and Star Sports taking the cudgels for the humungous kabaddi fraternity in the country. Both are part and parcel of the ProKabaddi League (PKL) that everyone wants to play. Star Sports was also the prime entity that’s responsible for reviving the World Cup after nine years.

For 16 days the focus was on India during the world event that people in the know of said was held in Ahmedabad because Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed interest in it and also because the Government of Gujarat was willing to host the 12 teams. India lost the opening match to the Republic of Korea, but it recovered well enough to win the title for the third time.

The fact of the matter is that Anup Kumar’s team, coached by Balwan Singh and K. Baskaran, played dynamic kabaddi with Ajay Thakur turning out to be the shining star, right through the event. Thakur was quite formidable in the final and could now be in the running for the Arjuna Award next year. Only two in the current team – Anup Kumar and Manjit Chillar – are recipients of the Arjuna Award.

But what about cash awards ? At the media interaction, coach Balwan Singh, always excited and a confident man, turned quite serious when asked if the World Cup winning team should be rewarded by the Central Government, just as it does for winners of medals in other sports. "Our main target was to win the World Cup. We wanted to make our nation proud. We are not bothered if the government gives us an award or not. We wanted to give our best for the nation. We dedicate our win to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Uri attack," said Balwan Singh.

Some of the States the players come from, especially Haryana, may recognise the achievement of its players. Four years ago, the Maharashtra Government presented a cash award of Rs. 1 crore each to Suvarna Bartakke, Abhilasha Mhatre and Deepika Joseph; the three were part of the Indian team that won the World Cup at Patna. The coach Dr. Ramesh Bhendigiri was given Rs. 25 lakh. Strangely, not a player from Maharashtra, regarded as a powerhouse in kabaddi, was selected in the Indian team for the World Cup; but someone like Kiran Parmar was deemed good enough to be in the team.

And on Saturday no prize money was announced for the winner and the runner-up!

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