Ahmedabad: The 2016 Kabaddi World Cup kicked off on Thursday in the presence of captains of the 12 competing nations, including hosts India.
Besides the hosts, the US, England, Australia, Iran, Poland, Thailand, Bangladesh, South Korea, Japan, Argentina and Kenya will vie for the top honours.
With tensions soaring across the border, Pakistan has already been barred from taking part in the competition.
An opening-day double-header will see India lock horns with South Korea while Iran takes on relatively easy opponents in first-timers US.
The 12 teams will be divided into two pools of six teams each. The tournament will be played in a round-robin format, where the top two sides from each pool will qualify for the semis, with the final slated for October 22.
On the occasion, International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) President Janardan Singh Gehlot said: “This is a watershed moment for the sport of Kabaddi globally. The IKF has been working to develop Kabaddi as a competitive discipline.”
“With 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, the sport is all set to break through on the global stage. There is a lot of excitement among all participants and we are sure that the same energy will be transferred to the fans watching it in stands and screens across the world.”
“It gives me immense pleasure to see such diversity in participation. I am sure the teams will inspire many more people in their countries to take up the sport,” he added.