Cricket may be called a religion in India but when it comes to rural India, the vote still goes to Kabaddi. The Rajiv Gandhi Rural Olympics Games that are proposed to be held in Rajasthan from August 29 have indicated this choice of rural people in the state.
The event is open to all age groups and around 29.14 lakh people have registered to participate. Out of the 29.14 lakh, 11.63 lakh people have opted to play Kabaddi, while registrations for Cricket are just 6.88 lakh.
This is the biggest sporting event ever held in the state and the games will be held at the Gram Panchyat level. A total of two lakh teams have already been formed, out of which the maximum 85,000 are of Kabaddi. What is interesting is that the craze for this 'Desi' game is not limited to men only. Around 2.50 lakh women have also registered to play Kabaddi, while only 40,000 have opted to play Cricket.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot unveiled the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Olympic Games mascot 'Sheru' and the theme song in Jaipur on Monday evening. The state government will spend Rs 40 crore for this event.
"The objective of the event is to identify rural sportspersons, hone their talents, encourage them and promote sportsmanship among the general public," said Gehlot. He said that sports grounds have been prepared by the state government at the Gram Panchayat level for the event.
The sporting event will start from the Gram Panchayat level and the winning teams will be promoted to the state level.
A total of six sports will be played, including Kabaddi, Shooting Ball, Kho-Kho, Volleyball, Tennis Ball Cricket and Hockey.
President of the Sports Council and former Olympian Krishna Poonia said that the event is already garnering a massive response from rural areas of the state.