After the success of Pro Kabaddi, Star India, official broadcasters of the event in India, teamed up with the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) to start the first-ever women's kabaddi league, which will run simultaneously with the Pro Kabaddi season 4. Three teams will be participating in the debut season -- Fire Birds, Ice Divas and Storm Queens.
India women's kabaddi team stars Mamtha Poojari, Abhilasha Mhatre and Tejeswini Bai are the captains of the three teams. Although not a full-fledged competition as yet, the reception to the short-term women's kabaddi league could give enough impetus for the launch of a competitive women's kabaddi competition in the near future.
"Women's Kabaddi Challenge is a manifestation of the journey that women have undertaken in all walks of our national life," the Business Standard quoted Anupam Goswami, Pro Kabaddi league commissioner as saying. "We applaud the fact that women regularly challenge gender stereotypes in our society. Come June 28, this is where Women will #Crosstheline in kabaddi."
The International Kabaddi Federation also mentioned that the event will give further boost to women's sports in India. "With Star Sports Pro Kabaddi carving a niche in the sports arena, we felt the need to create the same opportunity for our talented women kabaddi players," said IKF President Janardan Singh Gehlot.
"We have handpicked best of the players across regions to form these three teams. This will bring tremendous benefits not only to women's kabaddi but to women's sports in India," he added. The first match kicks off in Mumbai on June 28 and will then be played in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Jaipur and Pune, with the final scheduled for July 31 in Hyderabad.
Here is the full schedule:
|Date||Team A||Team B||Time||Venue|
|June 28||Fire Birds||v||Ice Divas||9 pm IST||NSCI, Mumbai|
|June 30||Storm Queens||v||Ice Divas||9 pm IST||Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur|
|July 5||Fire Birds||v||Storm Queens||9 pm IST||Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad|
|July 13||Ice Divas||v||Fire Birds||9 pm IST||Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru|
|July 18||Storm Queens||v||Ice Divas||9 pm IST||Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata|
|July 20||Storm Queens||v||Fire Birds||9 pm IST||NSCI, Mumbai|
|July 25||Qualifier 2||v||Qualifier 3||9 pm IST||Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Delhi|
|July 31||Finalist 1||v||Finalist 2||9 pm IST||Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad|
TV listings: Star Sports Network (India).