Dubai to launch Kabaddi league soon

Organisers believe that the cosmopolitan crowd in the emirate makes it the ideal destination for promoting the centuries-old Indian-origin sport


SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 4:14 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 5:03 PM

The UAE has become a hot spot for world-class sporting events over the last few years. The country has hosted major tournaments like T20 cricket, football, Formula One, tennis, golf, and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), to name a few.

Now, a new sport – albeit not new to Emirati society – is making its debut here. Dubai will have its first Ultra Kabaddi League. The new sporting league was launched by Sporteify in collaboration with Dubai Sports Council.

Kabaddi is a popular sport that originated in ancient India, where warriors played it as training. The game has been played in the Indian subcontinent for at least 4,000 years and is thought to have been developed by the ancient Vedic civilisation.

According to Ali Omar, director of sports events, Dubai Sports Council, previous generations knew this sport and young people used to practice it, and the sport has significantly developed since, and has a federation.

Held under the patronage of the Dubai Sports Council in June 2023, the event was launched by Omar, along with Indian actor Kabir Duhan Singh and Sumit Singh, the director of Sporteify.

An auction for players will be held for the event in Dubai in April, and as many as eight teams, each consisting of 14 players, will compete with each other in an electrifying atmosphere for 20 days.

Over 32 matches will be played. Each team will face the other seven teams to reach the top positions. As many as 112 of the best players will participate in the tournament, with many international players playing for their national teams.

“We will have top players from several Asian countries. However, if we find good players from other countries as well as the UAE, they are encouraged to participate,” explained Singh.

Omar expressed his happiness to host the tournament, which he said is a "new and distinctive addition" to Dubai's diversity for all segments of society. ”Our annual agenda includes organising and sponsoring many international and community sporting events."

Kabir Duhan said he is privileged to promote the sport internationally. “I love this sport, and I used to practice it when I was young during my school days – then I got busy focussing on my acting career. I am happy to be part of this tournament that combines focus and physical strength and requires intense focus and great energy," said Duhan.

"I hope the fans will enjoy watching this exciting tournament. I am also more pleased that this popular sport will be held in Dubai, and I thank the Dubai Sports Council for supporting this event,” he added.

Organisers believe that the cosmopolitan crowd of Dubai is a merit in promoting a sport like Kabaddi. “Dubai is an ideal destination to promote the centuries-old Indian sport,” said Edwin Paul, director, Sporteify.

The league will also provide a platform for upcoming players to showcase their talent and take their game to the next level. “The teams and their names haven’t been decided yet. However, in the coming days, we will disclose the team names and their sponsors,” said Paul.

“We have high hopes for the league. The nail-biting sport will be loved by the people from the West, helping us to promote it in the Western countries,” said Singh.

The matches will be broadcast on television internationally via streaming services.


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