Didn’t violate laws visiting Pak: Indian kabaddi coach

AMRITSAR, FEB 17 : The coach of the “unofficial” kabbadi team that returned from Pakistan on Monday after losing to the home team in the “unauthorised” World Cup tournament without the “consent” of the Indian government said the team went there without violating any laws.

“If we defied the laws, Indian authorities might question us on our arrival. Nobody asked us about any illegal act we did or on our visit,” coach Harpreet Singh Baba told the media.

Pakistan defeated India won 43-41 in the final of the World Cup on Sunday in Lahore’s Punjab Stadium.

He said the players had nothing to do with the Punjab Kabaddi Association. The team reached India via the Attari-Wagah joint check post, some 30 km from here. It reached Lahore on February 9 to participate in the tournament hosted by Pakistan.

He said the team got the invite and went there to take part in the tournament at an individual level. “We have not represented India. The team members participate in various tournaments across the world. They went to Pakistan in their individual capacity, not representing any particular federation,” he said.

On being asked how could they use jerseys with the word India inscribed on it, Baba said: “We were given jerseys there.” Earlier, both the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) and the Sports Ministry had clarified that they had not send any official team to Pakistan.

Even as India clarified that it had not given permission, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulate his team on Twitter.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was left shell-shocked after a kabaddi team from India landed in Pakistan.

IOA chief Narinder Batra had told IANS the team was not an official squad from the country and hence they couldn’t use the word ‘India’ under their banner, as they had not been approved by the Amateur Kabbadi Federation of India (AKFI).

Even the World Kabaddi Federation said that the ‘World Championship’ in Pakistan was “unauthorized” and “no institution will officially recognise the certificates issued by it.

On his part, Punjab Kabaddi Association Vice-President Tejinder Singh Middukhera had said the Pakistan Kabaddi Federation had organised the tournament to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

“The Pakistan Kabaddi Federation had invited the players individually for participation. We have not issued any official letter to any player. Since they all went there in their individual capacity, and not representing the country, the question of seeking permission doesn’t arise,” Middukhera had said.

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