The UAE is all set to get a taste of the traditional Indian sport of kabaddi with the launch of the Ultra Kabaddi League.
Set to take place at the Al Ahly Youth Club in Al Mamzar in Dubai from June 4 to 24, the tournament will see 112 players from 10 different countries form eight teams that will compete in 32 matches.
Kabaddi has exploded in popularity, with the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) emerging as the second most watched franchise sport in India after the IPL T20 tournament.
PKL had more than 200 million viewers for the recently concluded ninth season and kabaddi looks set to take over the UAE.
The Ultra Kabaddi League is organised by Sporteify in cooperation with the Dubai Sports Council.
Ali Omar, director of sports events department at Dubai Sports Council, said: "We are happy to host this tournament, which is being held for the first time, and which represents a new and distinctive addition to the diversity that Dubai is keen to present to all segments of society. Our annual agenda includes organising and sponsoring many international and community sporting events which enjoy a large public following.
"The sport of kabaddi is not new to Emirati society. Previous generations knew of this sport and young people used to practice it. Now the sport has developed greatly. The Dubai Sports Council is keen on the success of this tournament, which contributes to strengthening cooperation with the private sector to develop this sport."
Kabaddi is a team contact sport that sees a single 'raider' rush into the opponents half and try to tag one or more opponents and then hurry back into his own half without being tagged himself, all while saying "kabaddi, kabaddi" in one breath.
In 2018, the Dubai Kabaddi Masters was held for the first time in association with the Dubai Sports Council.
The tournament was held at the Al Wasl Sports Club with teams from India, Pakistan, Korea, Iran, Argentina and Kenya participating in it.