NEW DELHI: Buoyed by the success of the men's event, the organisers of Pro Kabaddi League are now exploring the possibility of launching a professional franchise-based women's tournament in the country.
Mashal Sports, the organisers of PKL which is now in its 10th year, said they are planning to launch the league in collaboration with the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India and the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF).
The women's version of PKL will follow in the footsteps of cricket's Women's Premier League, which is set to make its debut on March 4 in Mumbai.
"Our plans for a professional women's kabaddi league are based on the success we have seen in the men's league and our commitment to grow kabaddi as a modern world-class sport from India," CEO of Mashal Sports and PKL Commissioner Anupam Goswami said in a statement.
"We will be working with our various stakeholders, including the AKFI and the International Kabaddi Federation to launch the women's league."
A test tournament, Women's Kabaddi Challenge, involving three teams -- Firebirds, IceDivas and StormQueens -- had already been organised in 2016.
Former India captain V Tejeswini Bai, who led the country to its last Asian Games gold medal in 2014 Incheon, said a big dream will be fulfilled if the women's league takes shape.
"Ever since the launch of Pro Kabaddi League in 2014, women kabaddi players in India have aspired for a professional kabaddi league of their own," Tejeswini, who captained StormQueens, said.
"Now, a women's version of PKL will be a big dream-come-true for every woman kabaddi athlete in India, and also for women kabaddi athletes from other countries," added the Arjuna Awardee. India's leading male kabaddi players also echoed similar sentiments.
"Pro Kabaddi has transformed the lives and image of men kabaddi athletes across India," said former India captain Ajay Thakur. Thakur's views were seconded by Pardeep Narwal, the highest point-scoring raider of PKL.
"The quality and popularity of Pro Kabaddi League has enabled us to acquire pride and respect as kabaddi players. I know that a women's PKL will guarantee the same recognition and reward for our women athletes."
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