The opening matches of 4th Pearls World Cup Kabaddi-2013 today began here with full enthusiasm at YPS Stadium, where India drubbed America with 59-31 points and Spain defeated Kenya with 40-32 points. In Women category the host eves maintained their tradition to register opening victory by trouncing New Zealand with 44-12 points. The stadium was jam-packed with Kabaddi fans, who cheered for each and every raid during the match.Chief Guest of opening matches, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister welcoming the thousands of Kabaddi fans informed that Punjab government has increased the sports budget by setting aside Rs. 142 crore in 2013-14 budget with a view to develop Healthy Sports Culture in the state. He said that state government was paying special heed towards setting up of world class sports infrastructure besides providing training to produce more national and international players representing different games.
Reiterating the commitment of CM Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal to include Kabaddi into Olympics, Mr. Rakhra said that it was result of Punjab Government’s efforts that Kabaddi has regained its lost glory and it had already been included in the list of recognized games. He said that in 2010 Punjab had initiated the World Cup Kabaddi with total prize money of Rs. 2 crore and in a short period of three years the cash prizes has been increased to Rs. 7 crore. He said that organizing World Kabaddi Cup annually has given a separate identity to this rural game in the world.Informing about unique Sports Policy of Punjab government, Mr. Rakhra said that Punjab has implemented its sports policy under which 14 world class stadiums including 6 international Astroturf Hockey Stadiums have been constructed with total cost of Rs. 200 crore. He said that Punjab has also increased the amount of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Sports Award to Rs. 2 lakh, earlier it was Rs. 1 lakh besides reserving 3 percent quota for sportsperson during recruitment in government sectors. He said that Punjab has also provided A class jobs to 10 top players of different games.
Sikander Singh Maluka, President Punjab Kabaddi Association and Education Minister, Punjab while addressing the jam packed stadium said that now Kabaddi was not a game of Punjab villages only as it has spread its wings to all continents of World. He said that we could guess the popularity of this rural game from the arrival of teams from various continents. He said that all developed countries in the world were paying special attention towards this game vis-à-vis another sports. Maluka also informed that Punjab has increased cash award for Olympic gold medal to Rs. 2.5 crore, which was earlier Rs. 1 crore while for the winner of Asian Gold, Silver and Bronze medals the cash awards were Rs. 26 lakh, 16 lakh and 11 lakh respectively. He said that for winners of commonwealth games cash awards were Rs. 16 lakh, Rs. 11 lakh and Rs. 6 lakh respectively. He said that Punjab has also introduced a unique program of Rs. 22 crore under which 5000 gyms would be established in villages besides distributing 9000 sports kits. He said that Punjab had also successfully conducted maiden Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh Games in the state.Earlier, Mr. Rakhra and Mr. Maluka greeted the players of India, America, Kenya, Spain, New Zealand and India (women) while having introduction. Mr. Ashok Gupta, Secretary Sports, Mr. Ajit Singh Pannu, pisional Commissioner, Patiala, Mr. G.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner, IG Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, Director Sports Mr Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Mr. Hardyal Singh Mann, SSP Patiala, Mrs. Jasvirpal Kaur Brar, District Sports Officer were also present. Folk Singer Mohammad Irshad entertained the gathering with his popular songs.