India, one of the powerhouses of Kabaddi, will be looking to clinch their third Kabaddi World Cup title with a steady start in the 2016 edition of the prestigious competition. The India Kabaddi team have won the World Cup on two occasions previously -- in 2004 and in 2007. In both the editions, they defeated Iran in the Kabaddi World Cup final.
On Friday, India, led by the experienced Anup Kumar, will go up against South Korea in the opening match of the Kabaddi World Cup 2016, to be held at the Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad.
Twelve teams, including the hosts, are set for action in the two-week long tournament. Pakistan, however, yet another strong nation when it comes to the sport of kabaddi, are missing from the competition as they were not awarded visas by the Indian embassy in the aftermath of the recent terror attacks across the border.
Nevertheless, the competition is not expected to be any less. Also, Anup has brushed off the fact that there will be any pressure on the India team to defend the title. "Well there is no such pressure on us. This team is a champion in itself. Everybody is confident and dedicated to defend the title," the Arjuna Award winner told Indian Express.
"And no pressure playing at home. Home support cannot add pressure, instead it provides us the confidence to deliver and to play to our abilities."
South Korea, led by Seong Ryeol Kim, may look like the underdogs by a long margin, but even they are not expected to back down without a fight.
Squads: India - Anup Kumar (Captain), Ajay Thakur, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Jasvir Singh, Mohit Chillar, Manjeet Chhillar, Pardeep Narwal, Sandeep Narwal, Surendra Nada, Rahul Chaudhari, Surjeet, Nitin Tomar, Kiran Parmar
South Korea - Dong Ju Hong (Captain), Kim Ki-dong, Park Hyun-il, Eom Tae-deok, Lee Jang-kun. Yook Sang-min, Ahn Hwan-gi, Jung Kwang-soo, Seo Dea-ho, Kim Seong-ryeol, Kim Gyung-tae, Heo Youn-chan.
India vs South Africa is scheduled for a 8 pm IST (3:30 pm BST, 8:30 am EST) start on October 7.
Where to watch live
INDIA: TV - Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports 3/HD. Live streaming - Hotstar.
USA: TV - Fox Sports. Live streaming - Fox Sports Go.
UK: TV - Sky Sports. Live streaming - Watch Sky Sports.