Pakistan defeated arch-rivals India in the final of the circle style Kabbadi World Cup at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Sunday night. The men in green came back strongly in the second half to seal a 43-41 win over India. Notably, this is the first time that the circle style Kabaddi World Cup has been won by any team/country other than India.
Circle kabaddi varies from standard kabbadi, which is a part of the Asian Games in terms of the squad composition and the field of play. While standard kabbadi features seven players who weigh below 80kg on each side, circle kabaddi includes eight players with no weight restrictions and a circle is the field of play.
India emerged triumphant in the finals of the standard Kabaddi World Cup (organised by the International Kabaddi Federation) in 2016 by beating Iran.
Meanwhile, the World Cup took place amid controversy, with the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) branding the Indian team competing in Pakistan as "unauthorized" and even stating the same in a letter to Pakistan Kabaddi Federation.
The AKFI made it clear that it has not sanctioned any kabaddi team's visit to Pakistan for a tournament and asked the Pakistan Federation to not allow the team to use 'India' in the jersey or tracksuits that the players would be wearing.
"AKFI has requested Pakistan Kabaddi Federation not to permit any individual to play any 'Kabaddi World Cup' to represent 'India'. The individual should not be allowed to wear jersey/tracksuits with the name 'India'. They cannot use the India flag," AKFI said in the letter.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju called for an investigation into the matter. "Playing in the name of the country with India's flag being used are matters to be investigated," he said.
A contingent from India had reached Lahore last Saturday via the Wagah Border to take part in the championship.