Fountain Ink
Image Credit: Fountain Ink
Image Credit: Fountain Ink

A professional league with televised matches has made stars out of players and is fashioning the new age of kabaddi.

I come from a farming family and with the money from the league I aim to have my 10-year-old son educated well and take care of my family’s future.

Suman lata and Sonia are in their mid-twenties and their parents are worried for their future in their chosen sport, kabaddi. Their anxieties revolve around marriage proposals, which have been fewer in the past year. This is Nada village near Narnaund town in haryana’s hisar district, where sport is not just about the playing field, but also the means to a government job. but the competition has seen a steady increase over the past decade, when the state government almost doubled the funding in sports, recognising it as a cultural lifeline.

kabaddi, a sport with a dedicated following in the Indian countryside, spread like wild fire as every budding player who did well at the local level aimed for a government job by either cracking the national team or winning medals for the state at national events. Suman and Sonia are part of the same culture of rural haryana, hoping for Class III or Class IV government jobs.

“It makes sure that apart from farming they move up in life and achieve something for their state or country as well as become the financial pillars of their families,” says guru ram, who coached the two in school.

Suman participated in the kabaddi World Cup held in Punjab in 2011 and 2013, while Sonia was part of the


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