The Indian kabaddi team was in town for a felicitation by Sport Minister Vijay Goel on Thursday.
The team recently won the World Cup after a tight 38-29 win against Iran in the final with the tournament being played according to the same rules as the PKL including the likes of bonus points and loud, cheering music.
India captain Anup Kumar said it made sense since there were not many international competitions in kabaddi barring the Asian Games and PKL was what most players, both Indian and foreign, were used to through the year. He also refuted any suggestion that there was no competition for India. We lost to Korea in the first game, we were trailing against Iran in the final. There is a lot of competition but it is only good for the sport. If more countries do not play the game, how can we expect it to be taken seriously for Olympics? We need more and more teams to play the sport to raise its profile, Anup said. India had trailed in the early part of the game before bouncing back to retain the crown.
Goel also announced a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh each for the players. All players and the coach will be awarded. We will also strive to get the game included in Olympics, Goel said.
Man-of-the-tournament and top-scorer in the final, raider Ajay Thakur said more and more foreign players were coming to India for the PKL and improving their standards.
When you spend so much time with and against each other you are bound to learn the weak points of other players, know their strengths and their secrets. They come here and learn.
But we have the advantage of having played kabaddi for centuries. I have myself been playing for 10 years now. That is our strength. But it is getting close constantly, Thakur said.
India had managed to get the better of Iran by a single point in the 2014 Asian Games final, which both players admitted made this victory more sweet.