Shivneri-URL Kabaddi Festival to begin tomorrow

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Mumbai, Sep 29 (UNI) Corporates Bharat Petroleum, Mahindra and Mahindra and Air India will face a stiff challenge from the two local railways -- Western and Central and the State Police in the Shivneri-URL Foundation Kabaddi Festival, that will begin here tomorrow.

The Festival marks the commencement of the Mumbai kabaddi season. The Festival conducted during Navratri will also feature sixteen teams in the women's section for the Radha Lad Cup. The fight for the title will be between heavyweights Shiv Shakti, Vishwashanti, Dr Shirodkar's Sports Club and Veer Jijamata, the holders, a release issued here today stated.

This year the organisers have introduced two new competitions for the ''B'' and ''C'' division teams of Mumbai city. The eight quarter finalists from the Mumbai city championships in the ''B and ''C divisions have been given an entry. The festival will also feature over 40 collegiate teams from the city besides a couple of teams from Ratnagiri district.

''We have introduced the two new competitions because the lower run teams hardly get enough opportunities in big budget tournaments.

For the colleges this is the only opportunity to compete as there are no other tournaments except the one conducted by the University.

The total prize money offered by the organisers is around Rs one lakh,'' Uday Dada Lad of the URL Foundation informed.

The winners of the men's section will be offered an amount of Rs 9,000 and the runners-up Rs 6,000 along with the Rajaram Sheth Lad Gold Cup. The prize money for the winners of the Mohan Naik Cup (A division teams) and Radha Lad Cup (women) will be Rs 6,000 and 4,000 for the winners and runners- up respectively. The ''B'' and ''C'' divisions and inter-collegiate winner and runners-up stand to win Rs 5,000 and 3,000 respectively.

The festival will be held at the Bhavani Mata Kreedangan, Dadar East.

The organising secretary of the Festival Vishwas More said, ''Lots of interest has been shown by various colleges and teams from the lower divisions, but due to constraints of time and space we had to turn down a few requests.'' There are 14 teams in the men's open section and 16 in the ''A'' division taking the number of participating teams to almost 100. The men's open will be a league cum knockout, whereas rest of the competitions will be played on a knockout basis. A temporary gallery to accommodate about 3,000 spectators has been put up by the organizers, the release added.

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