The 47th Junior Nationals Kabaddi Championships will mark the return of kabaddi action for the first time since the pandemic.

To be held at the SP Office grounds in Suryapet, Telangana, the 2021 edition of the junior kabaddi nationals will be held from March 22 to March 25 with participation from both boys and girls. 

Over 1,500 players from 29 states are expected to take part in the tournament. Sikkim will take part in the junior kabaddi nationals for the first time.

Players who perform well will be on the radar for the Indian national kabaddi team. Pro Kabaddi star Ajay Thakur, an Asian Games champion and a Kabaddi World Cup winner, will be in the six-member (three men and three women) selection committee for India probables.

Only players born on or after March 26, 2001, are eligible to compete. The weight category has been fixed as 70kg and below for boys, while the upper limit is 65kg for girls.

The 46th junior nationals was held in Rohtak, Haryana. SAI emerged winners from the 29 boys teams while Haryana emerged as the champions among the 28 girls teams.

Among the boys, Meetu Sharma of SAI was adjudged the best raider while Arpit Saroha of UP was named best defender. In the girls’ category, Haryana’s Pooja from and Vaishali of SAI won the best raider and defender awards, respectively.

The last time a kabaddi event was held was last year. The 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championship, for both men and women, ran from March 2 to March 6, 2020, in Jaipur.

Junior Nationals Kabaddi Championships 2021: Teams, groups and format explained

The group stages will be played in the round-robin format with a team from each pool to play other teams in their respective pools once. The top two teams from each pool proceed to the knockouts.

The knockouts start with the pre-quarterfinals, the winner of Pool A will face the runner-up of Pool H, the winner of Pool B will meet the runner-up of Pool G and so on.

Boys teams for junior kabaddi nationals

Pool A: SAI, Rajasthan, Bihar

Pool B: UP, Karnataka, Telangana

Pool C: Chandigarh, Delhi, Tripura

Pool D: Goa, Vidarbha, J&K, Sikkim

Pool E: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh

Pool F: Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Manipur

Pool G: Haryana, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha

Pool H: Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry

Girls teams for junior kabaddi nationals

Pool A: Haryana, Chhattisgarh, J&K

Pool B: SAI, Bihar, Telangana

Pool C: Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry

Pool D: UP, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand

Pool E: Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim

Pool F: Delhi, West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha

Pool G: Goa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Manipur

Pool H: Maharashtra, Punjab, Vidarbha, Kerala

Junior Nationals Kabaddi Championships 2021 full schedule and start times

All times are Indian Standard Time (IST)

Monday, 22 March

Group stage matches - 9:00 PM IST

Tuesday, 23 March

Group stage matches - 3:30 PM IST

Wednesday, 24 March

Pre-quarterfinals - 3:00 PM IST

Quarter-finals - 7:00 PM IST

Thursday, 25 March

Semi-finals - 6:00PM IST

Finals - 7:00PM IST

Featured photo: Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI)