LAHORE: Despite serious political differences and a tug of war over powers and authority in the province, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi displayed sportsman spirit at the inaugural ceremony of the Kabaddi World Cup 2020 here at Punjab Stadium on Sunday.
Buzdar inaugurated the world cup being hosted for the first time in Pakistan. Both leaders jointly administered oath to players from 10 countries -- Pakistan, India, Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Iran, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Azerbaijan.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the chief minister said Punjab had been bestowed with the honour of hosting the Kabaddi World Cup for the first time in the history of Pakistan. “I wholeheartedly welcome all the players of nine best teams from around the world. Pakistan is an ideal land for playing all types of sports and we will continue holding sports competitions to keep advancing forward,” he maintained.
Speaking on the occasion, Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi thanked Chief Minister Buzdar for nicely hosting the Kabaddi World Cup. “By holding this event the aspirations of our elders have been fulfilled,” he said.
Punjab Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs and Tourism Rai Taimoor Bhatti complimented Buzdar for extending his all-out support for holding the world cup. He highlighted that the chief minister had also approved the construction of a five-star hotel near Gaddafi Stadium. This hotel will be constructed in a year and players will stay there afterwards. After its construction, it is hoped that the citizens will be saved from traffic problems during matches at the stadium.
Pakistan Kabaddi Federation President Chaudhry Shafay Hussain and the Punjab sports secretary also addressed the ceremony.
Earlier, the national kabaddi team of India reached Lahore through the Wagah Border to take part in the championship. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar also hosted a reception in honour of Kabaddi World Cup teams. In the star-studded event, the Kabaddi World Cup 2020 trophy was unveiled with great fanfare.
As many as 14 matches of the Kabaddi World Cup 2020 will be played at Punjab Stadium in Lahore, eight at Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad and two at Zahoor Elahi Stadium in Gujrat. In all, 24 matches will be played during the mega event.
The winners of the tournament will get Rs10 million, while the runner-ups will get Rs7.5 million.
Pakistan won the inaugural match of Kabaddi World Cup 2020 with 64 points against Canada.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2020.
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