The Telegraph
Friday , August 8 , 2014
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Kabaddi touches tender hearts with victory on first evening

Patna Pirates defeated Puneri Paltan 35-27 in a close contest of 40 minutes in Pro Kabaddi at Patliputra Sports Complex on Thursday evening.

The team, playing their first match at their home ground, dominated the game from the beginning.

In the first half, Patna Pirates with green-and-yellow, were leading 22-16.

Carrying green flags, the spectators cheered the local team on every occasion a Patna Pirates player earned points.

Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi was also seen cheering the home team. He later said kabaddi is a rural game and quite popular in Bihar. Manjhi added that his government would take necessary step to promote the game, along with introducing it in schools. International Kabaddi Federation Janardan Singh Gehlot, Patna Pirates team owner Rajesh Shah and other officials were present.

Witnessing the enthusiasm, it was evident that youngsters in the city have at last got a team of their own to support at any sporting event in the city.

With the Patna leg of Pro Kabaddi starting on Thursday at the Patliputra Sports Complex, people have literally gone crazy. Be it the first match between the local team, Patna Pirates, and Puneri Paltan, or the one between Abhishek Bachchan-owned Jaipur Pink Panthers and Telugu Titans on Saturday online tickets of many a block at the swanky flood-lit stadium have been sold out.

Several city youths are trying to mobilise maximum possible support for Patna Pirates both offline and on social media with #patnapirates #prokabaddi hashtags.

From sharing photos of Patna Pirates matches to status updates the youths are full of enthusiasm while seeking support for their team. This is for the first time that Bihar has got some presence in sports at the national level. The Bollywood support with Vivek Oberoi and local MP Shatrughan Sinha has also highlighted the team. From the day the team was announced, I have been sharing photos of Patna Pirates and updating my friends about the match schedule, said Patna College student Saket Sinha.

The Facebook wall of Ankit Anubhav, a student of BD Public School, is flooded with articles about the team. I have shared the profile of each player of the team. I have tried to share almost all the links associated to Patna Pirates through my Facebook profile. We need to make people aware of details first, to seek their support in order to encourage our team, said Ankit, adding: I have booked my tickets via Bookmyshow a week before. I really dont want to miss any of the matches. I just want to stand and cheer my team.

Such was the craze of Pro Kabaddi matches in the city that tickets of Rs 150 denomination were all sold out several hours before the 8pm match on Thursday. Only a handful of tickets of Rs 250 denomination were available three hours before the match was to start.

The Facebook page of Patna Pirates has got 1,760 likes and still counting before the team readied itself to play before the home crowd. I have been following the team since its first match. Im just keeping my fingers crossed for rest of the matches, said Sunidhi, a college student.

Sunidhi, along with her college gang, has booked tickets for all the four matches at Patliputra Sports Complex. We are going to paint the logo of our team on faces, wear green tops and will cheer our lungs out, added an excited Sunidhi.

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