More than 100 wrestlers are expected to take part in the second season of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL), which gets underway from December 15, the organisers announced on Thursday.
The organisers announced numerous additions in the second season as the cash rich tournament will be expanded to an eight-team affair in place of the earlier six, while also increasing the pool of domestic players from 54 to 80 in the initial draft. The initial draft of foreign recruits has also been raised from 24 to 40 players.
The tournament will also be a month long event instead of the 18-day affair in the inaugural edition last year.
Speaking of the overwhelming response and growth of PWL, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said: "Wrestling as a sport has contributed towards the growth of sporting fabric of India. With sterling performances in the last three Olympics for India, wrestling followers are now becoming more vocal and visible."
"While local 'Dangals' enjoyed unprecedented live spectators, data suggests that on TV, wrestling emerged as the most watched Olympic sport for Indian audience in the last 12 months."
"The growth is a result of hard work and progressive outlook of our officials across the country. I thank state units and the professional team of ProSportify (commercial partners of PWL) for doing a commendable job in such a short span."
"PWL had direct impact on recent Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, as she got an opportunity to study, share & compete alongside the best wrestlers in the world during PWL," he added.
ProSportify founder Kartikeya Sharma also reiterated: "We have created a friendly format for TV viewing sports fans whilst keeping the ethos, mat rules and rich tradition of the game intact. Additionally, our three innovations worked heavily in PWL's favour."
"Essentially, converting an individual sport into a Team Game with boys and girls representing the same team. Secondly, introduction of 'Toss' and subsequently 'Player Blocking' added a sense of suspense, excitement and drama in the competitive fast-paced game".
"Wrestling is deeply rooted in Indian cultural ethos and is the biggest sporting export from India to the world. We were privileged to enthuse over three crore sports fans every day in Season 1 and promise to surpass our stellar performance this year," he added.
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