India

Pakistan barred from Kabaddi World Cup in India

This file photograph taken on May 6, 2016, shows an Indian kabaddi player (L) as he attempts to tag a Pakistani opponent during their final match of the 3rd Asian Kabaddi Circle Style Championship 2016 in Wah some 45 kilometers from Islamabad. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Kabaddi is a popular sport both in India and Pakistan

Pakistan has been barred from the Kabaddi World Cup in India amid rising tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

The International Kabaddi Federation said "this is not the right time to engage with Pakistan". The two-week-long event begins on Friday.

The neighbours last month accused each other of increasing hostilities along their de-facto border in Kashmir.

Kabaddi is a full-contact team sport which originated in India.

The championship in India's western city of Ahmedabad will feature top sides from Iran, Australia, South Korea, England, Poland, Kenya, Argentina and newcomers, the US.

The IKF chief, Deoraj Chaturvedi, told AFP news agency that Pakistan had been barred from the tournament due to an increase in tensions between the neighbours.

"Pakistan is a valuable member of the IKF but looking at the current scenario and in the best interest of both the nations, we decided that Pakistan must be refrained [from the championship," he said.

Pakistan's kabaddi officials said the tournament without Pakistan would be "just like a football world cup without Brazil".

"We have called a meeting to discuss this issue but let me tell you that a Kabaddi World Cup is no world cup without Pakistan," said the chief of the Pakistan Kabaddi Federation, Rana Muhammad Sarwar.

What is kabaddi?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Kabaddi World Cup begins on Friday
  • Kabaddi is a full-contact team sport originating in India
  • Two teams take turns to send a "raider" to the other's territory, or half
  • The player has to tag any one of the opposing team's four "stoppers" and return "home" within 30 seconds to win the raid
  • If not the stoppers win the raid
  • The objective is to win as many points as possible either through raiders or through stoppers

Source: World Kabaddi League

Relations between India and Pakistan have sharply deteriorated since last month, when militants carried out the deadliest attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir in years. India blamed the attack on Pakistan, which has denied the claim.

Last week, India said it had retaliated by carrying out "surgical strikes" against suspected militants along the de-facto border with Pakistan in Kashmir.

Pakistan denied that India had carried out any strikes and said two of its soldiers were killed in unprovoked cross-border shelling.

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