Anup, Rakesh unhappy with biennial league

Mumbai : The prospect of earning more money than in the first two years has not made U Mumba skipper Anup Kumar and his new teammate Rakesh Kumar, come out in favour of the decision of the Pro Kabaddi League organisers to make it a biennial affair from 2016. “It’s not bad, but according to me it should be only an annual affair as too much of a good thing may not be good for public consumption on TV. Holding it once in a season means people would be eager to view it as the waiting period would be longer,” said two-time Asian Games gold medal winner Anup at a media meet here today. “If 6-7 months are taken away by the leagues, there are other tournaments too that we have to figure in like national tournaments, national games and international tournaments, leaving us with very little time for rest.  A lot of injuries too happen in kabaddi,” said 32-year-old Haryana policeman Anup who led U Mumba to the league title earlier this year.

Three-time Asiad gold medal winner Rakesh Kumar, who has joined the Mumbai franchise ahead of season 3 of the League which is set to commence on January 30, 2016, after playing for the Patna Pirates for the first two seasons of the League, endorsed his view. “We have inter-department events, nationals. It would be good if it’s held once a year. People will then look forward to it,” said Delhi-based Northern Railways’ player Rakesh who led India to their eighth successive gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

The league, organised by Mashal Sports and Star India in association with the International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India, “is now going to be a bi-annual league with two seasons every year, promising much more action for the audiences and also encouraging them to take up to playing kabaddi,” it was announced earlier. Anup, however, added that the coming year, in which two seasons are planned to be held by the organisers, would show whether it’s a success. “It will be clear this coming year. If the response is good then holding two seasons in a year will be meaningful, but it’s also true that with continuous play the chances of injuries rise,” said Anup who led U Mumba to the league title earlier this year.

Rakesh said that his contract with Patna Pirates, which finished third in 2014 and fourth in season 2, ended after the first two seasons and he has now joined hands with his friend Anup’s team. “The players are given 10 per cent rise in our salaries for every new season,” said Rakesh who was injured and missed the major part of season 2 for Patna after being bought for Rs 12.80 lakh by the Pirates in 2014, which was the highest bid at the first players’ auction. Both the players are set to join the national camp for the upcoming South Asian Federation Games, which starts tomorrow at Bengaluru and will continue till January 6, 2016 after which they will join the U Mumba squad which is already having a pre-season camp in Kerala that’s set to conclude at the end of this month.

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