Patiala: The 4th Pearls World Cup Kabaddi - 2013 began here on Sunday with India drubbing United States 59-31 and Spain emerging victorious over Kenya 40-32.
In the women`s category, the home team won their opening match by trouncing New Zealand 44-12 at the jam-packed YPS stadium.
Chief Guest of opening matches, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats welcomed the thousands of Kabaddi fans. He said Punjab government has increased the sports budget by setting aside Rs 142 crore in 2013-14 budget.
He said that state government was paying special heed towards setting up of world class sports infrastructure besides providing training to produce more national and international players representing different games.
He said that organizing World Kabaddi Cup annually has given a separate identity to this rural game in the world.
He said that Punjab has also increased the amount of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Sports Award to Rs. 2 lakh, earlier it was Rs. 1 lakh besides reserving 3 percent quota for sportsperson during recruitment in government sectors.
He said that Punjab has also provided A class jobs to 10 top players of different games.
Sikander Singh Maluka, President Punjab Kabaddi Association and Education Minister, informed that Punjab has increased cash award for Olympic gold medal to Rs 2.5 crore from earlier Rs 1 crore while for the winner of Asian Gold, Silver and Bronze medals the cash awards were Rs 26 lakh, 16 lakh and 11 lakh respectively.
He said that winners of gold, silver and bronze medals in Commonwealth Games will get Rs 16 lakh, Rs 11 lakh and Rs 6 lakh respectively.
Earlier Rakhra and Maluka greeted the players from USA, Kenya, Spain and New Zealand, besides the home team.
Folk singer Mohammad Irshad entertained the gathering with his popular songs.