In a surprising decision, the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) has decided to bar Pakistan from participating in the 12-nation World Cup tournament.
The decision was taken for the benefit of the smooth functioning of the showcase event amidst of growing tension between the two neighboring countries
The two-week long tournament is being held in Ahmedabad with India, Iran, teams from Australia, South Korea, England, Poland, Kenya, Argentina, and the US participating. The last Kabaddi World Cup took place nine years ago.
Due to the exclusion of Pakistan, the traditional South Asian sport has dealt a major blow as Kabaddi is very popular in the country.
International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) chief Deoraj Chaturvedi confirmed the news saying, "This is not the right time to engage with Pakistan," Chaturvedi told AFP."
"Pakistan is a valuable member of the IKF but looking at the current scenario and in the best interest of both the nations, we decided that Pakistan must refrain from the championship."
Pakistan kabaddi federation secretary Rana Muhammad Sarwar said, "We have called a meeting to discuss this issue but let me tell you that a Kabaddi World Cup is no world cup without Pakistan," as quoted by AFP.
Pakistan captain Nasir Ali also feels his team were the favourites to clinch the cup keeping in mind their recent form. Recently, Pakistan has defeated India at the six-nation Kabaddi Cup in May and in last month's Asian Beach Games in Vietnam.
India has been dominant in previous six world cups winning the big prize every time. Iran will be a solid contender this WC, they lost to India in the previous two world cup finals in 2007 and 2004 but have enough firepower to change the results in their favour.
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