New Delhi: In a significant move towards normalizing sporting relations between India and Pakistan, a team from across the border -- Lahore Lions -- managed by the Government of Punjab will participate in the inaugural World Kabaddi League scheduled to begin in London on August 9.
Under the leadership of Mian Mohd. Shahbaaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Pakistan`s Punjab province, the team from neighbouring country has consented their participation in the international league promoting the ancient sport of kabaddi.
Top Pakistani players like Babar Waseem, Lala Abaidulla, Shafiq Ahmad Chisti and Akmal Shazad Dogar will be representing Lahore Lions in the tournament.
The team will be managed and supervised by the Directorate General of Sports, Punjab province and will be headed by Usman Anwar, DG Sports, Punjab province.
Lahore Lions will play its first match against Vancouver Lions on August 10 in London.
Commenting on the association, Mohd. Waqas, manager of Lahore Lions said: "Kabaddi is a popular sport in Pakistan. We are very elated to announce our representation in Wave WKL. It will be a proud moment for us to represent our country in the league across the globe. I wish the team stupendous success in the league."
Senior vice-president of Wave WKL and president of Punjab Kabaddi Association, Sikander Singh Maluka added: "We welcome this initiative of Pakistan and thank them for their continued support. This move by the Government of Punjab in Pakistan to participate in this mega-event through their franchise Lahore Lions will make the matches more exciting and fun-filled."
"I am sure that it will be a great, entertaining league for everyone to watch," added Maluka, who is also the Minister for Rural development and Panchayats in the Government of Punjab, India.
The official media launch of Lahore Lions is expected to take place tomorrow at the Pakistan`s Punjab CM`s secretariat at Lahore.
Puneet Singh Chandhok, chief advisor of WKL said officials of both sides are expected to be a part of this launch.
Lahore Lions is also expected to host the sports weekend at Punjab stadium, Lahore.
Wave WKL is the first international kabaddi league coming out of India and is scheduled to kick start on August 9 in a high-profile event in London.
Played in Circle style, WKL is loosely based on the Formula 1 touring sport format and will be the first Indian sports league with an international footprint and a four month long calendar.