A plaque commemorating the first ever British Kabaddi League match played in Great Britain has been unveiled at WV Active Aldersley.

The British Kabaddi League was launched in the city in 2022 to mark the prominent role of the Midlands in British Kabaddi, and the first match was played between Wolverhampton Wolfpack and Birmingham Bulls on 9 April, 2022 at the City of Wolverhampton Council run leisure centre.

The Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, said: “I am thrilled to see Kabaddi going from strength to strength in the City of Wolverhampton, the West Midlands and nationally. 

“As one of the fastest growing sports in the world it is a celebration of positive community engagement and cultural diversity, and I don’t think there is anywhere better to celebrate both of those things then in this great diverse city.”

Ashok Das, President of the World Kabaddi and England Kabaddi, said, “The unveiling of the plaque was a historical moment and milestone for Kabaddi and will be remembered for generations to come. I have been promoting the game since 1995 and have introduced the game to the armed forces, universities and schools. 

“The British Kabaddi League is a gateway for players to represent their communities and go on to represent their country in the forthcoming Kabaddi World Cup which is to be held in the Midlands. 

“I would like to thank the City of Wolverhampton Council for supporting us throughout our journey and believing in us in making history for Kabaddi in the UK.”

Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, Cabinet Member for Visitor City, added: “I am delighted and proud that the City of Wolverhampton and other Midland clubs have played such a pivotal role in setting up the league and bringing the sport to the wider public.

“As a region, and as a city we are rightly proud of our sporting clubs, our athletes, and sports people of which there are many. As it is introduced into schools, colleges, and universities across the West Midlands, kabaddi will inspire our young people to take part and become advocates of the sport.

“It’s a real honour and tremendously exciting that the West Midlands will be hosting the 2025 Kabaddi World Cup, the first time the sport’s most prestigious global tournament will be hosted outside of Asia, and I am hopeful the city will play a big part in this momentous occasion.”

Kabaddi is the fastest growing sport in South Asia, and the second most popular after cricket. Originating in India some 5,000 years ago, the contact sport sees teams broken down into raiders and blockers, with the aim of scoring points by entering opposition territory, tagging an opponent, and making it back into their own half without being tackled to the ground. It is now played in more than 50 countries, having grown in stature as a mainstream sport.