Mumbai: Ahead of Season 6 of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), the organisers and the All India Kabaddi Federation (AIKF) have decided to conduct a pan-India talent hunt covering 18 cities to unearth new players ahead of the auctions.
The joint initiative of PKL organisers, Mashal Sports, and AKF commenced here on Monday. This would be followed by a talent hunt in the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Thrissur, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Lucknow, Vishakhapatnam, Patna, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore, Imphal, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar and Ahmedabad, said a media release.
The cities have been chosen based on expert assessment of kabaddi talent spotted in local tournaments held there in the past, the release said.
The phase one of the "Future Kabaddi Heroes" programme would be conducted over 2-3 days per city.
Last year a similar programme received response from over 4,600 participants and post a three-stage selection process, 133 players finally made it to the players auction pool, the release stated.
This year five new cities - Imphal, Thrissur, Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad and Patna - have been included in consultation with the AIKF and state kabaddi associations, the release added.
Former India skipper Anup Kumar welcomed the initiative, wishing such a programme had existed during his younger days.
"I personally see the Future Kabaddi Heroes programme as an ideal platform that will take young aspirants much closer to their dream of playing professional kabaddi.
"It is an ideal opportunity for deserving candidates, who lack access and the support system, to demonstrate their potential and eventually have the chance to be recognised in the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League," Kumar said.