RIDING ON THE MASSIVE SUCCESS of its two seasons so far, Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is all set to storm stadiums and television screens across India with its Season 3 beginning January 30, 2016. This year, besides reinventing the sport with a calendar of two seasons in 2016, Star Sports Pro Kabaddi, a game changer amongst professional leagues in the country, has initiated inclusion of service players in the league.
In Jaipur, the services players draft process was conducted by Star Sports Pro Kabaddi in alignment with SSCB (Services Sports Controlled Board) and the AKFI (Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India).
The services have been one of the biggest supporters of sports development in the country and have produced champions across sports, including in the Olympics. The aim of the Services Sports Control Board is to conduct Inter-Services Sports Championships to select and train Services sportsmen to achieve excellence and produce medal winners for the country at the National and International Level. The services have come forth with their support in a first of a kind participation in a professional league.
The Services Players draft received a strong response from participating franchises. The allocation of players was executed by an Open Draw Process. A designated representative from the 8 teams participated in the draw of lots. A total of 12 players were picked across 6 teams.
Charu Sharma, Director, Mashal Sports commented on this game changing initiative,
“For every sportsman, finally its about competing at the highest level and being recognized and rewarded for the blood, sweat and tears. For Kabaddi players, Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is the ultimate proving ground. I'm delighted that the top players from the Indian Defence Services will now be an integral part of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi Season 3. This will always remain an important partnership - Department employment for long term encouragement and security, and Pro leagues for the recognition and reward that sportspersons need during their short high performance period. My sincerest appreciation to the SSCB for according this privilege to the sportspersons under their benevolent wings.”
Anupam Goswami, Head – Kabaddi, Star India added,
“The first two seasons of the league saw an overwhelming response and with season 3, we will scale up our reach and keep raising the league’s value for viewers, players and franchises. We are delighted that our vision for Kabaddi through Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is shaping up well, with Kabaddi becoming the second most viewed sport in the country, after cricket. The inclusion of services players is another milestone that the league has achieved and we look forward to seeing these heroes become an asset to their teams and the league.”
The League, which has given the sport of Kabaddi a distinctive contemporary identity, is promoted by Mashal Sports and Star India with the backing of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India and International Kabaddi Federation. It will feature a total of 171 players across 8 teams. Vizag, which hosted a leg is the inaugural season, is back on the calendar and it will host the opening leg, with home team Telugu Titans taking on current champions U Mumba. The playoffs will take place at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in
New Delhi on the March 4 and 5, 2016 with the largest indoor setup in the history of the league.
The action begins in Vizag on January 30, 2016.