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After a successful launch in 2022, the British Kabaddi League (BKL) is set to return in this year, with tournaments being held in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Birmingham and Glasgow throughout April and May.

Across three heats, 10 teams will battle it out, before the top four teams compete in the finals in Glasgow. Last year's inaugural champions, the Birmingham Bulls, will be aiming to retain their title against teams from Wolverhampton, Walsall, Leicester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Harrow, Nottingham and Luton.

Originating in India some 5,000 years ago, the contact sport of Kabaddi 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.

The BKL was formed last year by English and Scottish Kabaddi, with support from the West Midlands Growth Company and its Business and Tourism Programme (BATP), set up to attract more visitors and investors to the region following the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The league was established to build on the sport's global popularity to engage and empower the nation’s five million strong British Asian population.

Since the league’s inception in 2022, the sport has gone from strength to strength in the UK. In November, it was revealed that the West Midlands will host the 2025 Kabaddi World Cup, the first time the tournament will take place outside Asia.

Prem Singh, CEO of British Kabaddi, said: “As we embark on a second exciting year of Kabaddi action in the UK, it fills me with pride at how the league has grown over 12 months, with new teams joining the league, and a new Kabaddi Grand Prix tournament in Walsall.

“Last year's inaugural tournament was an enormous success, and a great platform to build on as we expand the league. With the ongoing support of the West Midlands Growth Company, we very much look forward to our 10 teams battling it out to become champions.”

Ashok Das, President of British Kabaddi and World Kabaddi, said: “Kabaddi is enjoying a huge rise  in popularity across the world, especially here in the UK. The success of the inaugural British Kabaddi League, and the way the region embraced the first staging of the BKL played a huge role in our decision to award the West Midlands the Kabaddi World Cup in 2025.

“The West Midlands has played a big part in Kabaddi from the start, hosting two heats last year, and this year is set to host three. The region has welcomed Kabaddi with open arms both nationally and internationally and we very much look forward to returning for the second season of the league.”

Alan Bowley, Head of Environment, Leisure and Commercial at Walsall Council, said: “We are thrilled that Walsall will host a weekend of BKL action for the first time this year. In recent months, our town has provided the backdrop for the world's biggest women’s cycling race and the England Men’s U19s football team, as well as being the home of British Judo. Our region has a distinguished sporting heritage, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming teams and fans from across the country to Walsall to compete. We wish good luck in particular to the Walsall Hunters team which will be proudly representing the borough.”

Neil Rami, CEO of the West Midlands Growth Company, said: “The British Kabaddi League is a tangible outcome of the West Midlands’ Major Sporting Events Delivery Plan, managed by the Birmingham 2022 Business and Tourism Programme. The plan was designed to showcase the region’s ability as an outstanding, welcoming and reliable host of major sporting fixtures. The British Kabaddi League being predominantly based here is a great way of showcasing what we can do.”

Ian Fegan, Director of Communications and Visitor Experience at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “As the proud host city of the first ever British Kabaddi League match last year between our Wolverhampton Wolfpack and Birmingham Bulls, we are delighted to welcome the wonderful sport of Kabaddi back to our city.

“Wolverhampton has a proud heritage as a sporting city – home of Premier League football, national speedway, horse racing, darts, snooker and greyhound racing. We’re very happy to build on this with the addition of Kabaddi to Wolverhampton’s annual sporting calendar.”

The British Kabaddi league will start at Wolverhampton Active in Aldersley on the 8th April.

Full list of events:

Wolverhampton Kabaddi Grand Prix – 8th & 9th April. Wolverhampton Active Aldersley, Aldersley Rd, Wolverhampton, WV6 9NW

Walsall Kabaddi Grand Prix – 29th & 30th April. University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, Gorway Rd, Walsall, WS1 3BD

Birmingham Kabaddi Grand Prix – 20th & 21st May. Nechells Wellbeing Centre, Rupert St, Birmingham, B7 4AR

Glasgow BKL Final – 27th & 28th May. Glasgow Club Bellahouston, Glasgow, G52 1HH