Elated with the successful organisation of the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it's commissioner Anupam Goswami on Wednesday said the conduct of the eight edition of the event after a year's hiatus is a testament to their commitment towards the development of the sport.
"We were committed to conducting Pro Kabaddi League. We were committed to the sport itself. A lot of good, high quality Kabaddi competition had been affected during the past two years. We ourselves have not been able to conduct the event in 2020," Goswami, who is also the CEO of PKL organisers Mashal Sports, told PTI.
The PKL, in its eight season, has so far successfully completed 134 matches and the commissioner termed it as a "big achievement".
"We were definitely committed to conducting it in 2021. In fact, we explored, we were initially working to conduct the league (in) broadly July-August-September, which is the normal window of the league. But then the second wave came and other leagues were also changing their schedule, particularly IPL. "So, we had done the new young player programme in February for season 8. We were planning another auction around broadly in April-May period and then with the pandemic situation unfolding, we could conduct the auction only around August 31. More than anything, we were committed all the way through," Goswami said.
Goswami said the ongoing PKL was conducted in one single bio-bubble to mitigate the risk of travelling.
"We were committed to resume Kabaddi, so we started preparing players for this season eight. We learnt a lot from the best practices of leagues around the world and in India, who had conducted in face of the pandemic. We developed our own understanding. We also understood that COVID cases came during transition in between network bubbles. "So, we developed our own philosophy, that we wanted a single comprehensive bubble and we wanted to mitigate the risk of transition and travel, even within the city," he elaborated, adding 930 personnel stayed in the bubble, including 235 athletes. "(Besides) with the help of all teams, we were able to enforce COVID discipline mentally as well as physically very well."
The final of PKL season is scheduled to be played on February 25 in Bengaluru.