Did you know that the Indian women’s beach kabaddi team has come home with a gold medal that it won at the International Beach Kabaddi Championship in Mauritius last week?
Indian women dominated the entire match against England, emerging a clear winner in the final with 56-25.
The Indian sports fraternity is diverse but very few know about these women’s beach kabaddi stars.
Payel Chowdhury, captain of the Indian team, expressed, “We should get recognition.” Payel is in the electrical department of the Indian Railways in Kolkata. “Kabaddi in India isn’t at a stage where we could play it full-time, irrespective of how much we love the sport. These leagues help in creating awareness about the sport,” she added, ESPN reported.
But if you’re thinking that this is the first time these women brought home a medal, you’re mistaken. The women’s kabaddi team has notched up many laurels. In fact, they have been winning gold at the Asian Beach Games for the past five successive years.
Coach Ejjapureddi Prasad Rao said, “I wouldn’t say that they are unknown. I would say that it’s still developing, but things are certainly looking up. It’s just a matter of time that they too get the recognition that they rightfully deserve. I’m very proud of the girls.”
On the other hand, where there’s been a new roar for Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) – somehow men’s teams get all the attention — women’s teams do not get the acknowledgement that they deserve. India’s World Cup track record for men is higher too.
While beach kabaddi is very different from its famous version – it is more difficult because it requires greater physical strength to maintain grip on the sandy surface, which takes a lot of effort. “It requires a lot of stamina, yes,” said Payel. “If one knows how to play this form of kabaddi and is passionate enough about it, they can play anything.”
Now that opportunities are opening up, including the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge, a tournament started last year by the PKL, things are looking good for aspiring women kabaddi players. We wish them good luck for the future.
Feature Image Credit: Mauritius Kabaddi Association/Facebook
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