Indian Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju has given his backing for the inclusion of kabaddi in the 2024 Olympic Games and stated that the government will push hard to have it included in the Paris Games.
"As a Sports Minister, I am very excited and have always thought of how to promote indigenous sports in a big way. Kabaddi is a perfect example of how an indigenous sport has grown successfully," Rijiju said on Sunday while speaking on KBD Live programme on Star Sports.
"This I feel is the beginning of the sports culture that we envisaged for India which is now becoming a reality. We will definitely push hard for Kabaddi to be part of the next Olympics as we are a billion-plus powerful nation and so for this to become possible, we will have to put all our efforts together, but I am very confident about it," he added.
Kabaddi is included in the Asian Games, but is not an Olympic sport. One of the main prerequisites for any sport to qualify for the Olympics, is that the game 'should be played in at least 75 countries, spread across four continents'.
Kabaddi is currently played in almost 31 nations, and hence, it is disallowed in the Olympics. The only exposure that kabaddi had in the Olympics was in 1936, when a demo game was played by the Indian team in Berlin. Last year, Iran became the only country other than India to win gold medals in the Asian Games. While the Indian men's team won bronze, the women's side was beaten by Iran and settled for silver.
India have dominated proceedings in the Kabaddi World Cup, winning all titles in the Standard Style competition and the Circle Style. The sport has plans to extend its wings from the next edition of the tournament - while 12 teams have taken part in the World events thus far, 16 will fight it out in the upcoming World Cup that will be held in Dubai. Eight sides will be from Asia, while the remaining teams will be from UAE, Europe, Africa, America and Oceania.