England, Germany, Netherlands and Italy are all renowned for their successes in football. But, the four footballing giants would battling it out for honours in a different sports in Glasgow, Scotland.
Seven countries would be looking to be crowned as champions at the inaugural European Kabaddi Championships to be held at the Emirates Arena from Oct 12-13.
And unlike football, the favourites going into the tournament would be Poland and Norway.
The tournament is being co-hosted by the Scottish and English kabaddi associations under the auspices of World Kabaddi.
“This is a huge step forward for kabaddi in Europe. To have seven European countries competing under one roof for the right to be named as the Europe’s best is something we could not have imagined just a couple of years ago,” said World Kabaddi president Ashok Kumar.
He added that the last major event held in Europe was an invitational tournament in in Italy in 2007.
“This is the first time that an international kabaddi tournament is being held in Scotland. It is going to help Europe open a new chapter for kabaddi,” added Ashok.
The women’s competition would see only three teams competing for honours.
“It is a good start and we would work to get more women’s teams in the future. Kabaddi is not a well known sports in Europe and we need to be actively looking into ways to get more players taking it up,” said Ashok.
Apart from the national style competition, Scotland, Germany, Norway and Italy would also be contesting in the circle style competition.
Kabaddi is a Indian traditional tag game, believed to be almost 5,000 years old. Kabaddi, which is a medal sport at the Asian Games is played in three formats – National, Circle and Beach.
Malaysia hosted the World Cup recently with India winning both the men’s and women’s titles.
Ashok also confirmed that there would be a special exhibition match featuring the British Royal Navy and the British Army Teams.
“The navy and army were among the first to pick up the game many years ago and we want to ensure that kabaddi was continued as part of their program,” said Ashok.
Football fans would remember that during the last World Cup, the English team played kabaddi as part of their warm up drill.
Ashok added that hosting the European championships in Scotland was a huge task, especially with sponsorship hard to come by.
“It is very unlike India where sponsors for kabaddi are plenty. Here we have to work overtime to convince sponsors to come aboard,” he added.
Despite the limited resources, the organisers have provided each team with £ 600 for transportation apart from free board and lodging.
With the number of qualified technical officials also lacking, neutral technical officials, especially from India have been appointed to assist.
Norway team manager Kanwaldeep Singh Kamboj, is looking forward to a winning debut at the championships.
Norway would be fielding a strong team, that includes several players who played at the World Cup campaign in Melaka last July.
“We have strengthened the team with some seniors,who were not able to make the trip to Malaysia. This a a stronger team,” said Kanwaldeep.
The Norwegian also won the tournament hosted by Denmark earlier in June this year. Their biggest rivals would come from Poland, who have an experienced squad, including some who have played in leagues in India.
Matches would be streamed on the official KTV (UK) as well as kabaddico Youtube channels. Stay tuned on Go Sports , as would also be linking the live matches on our site.