There should be a continuous effort, which is already happening at the grassroots level like doing events at historic locations – Suniel Shetty, minority stakeholder of the league

Suniel Shetty, Parvin Dabas, and Preeti Jhangiani interacted with the media and explored the reaction to the Pro Panja League, thus far.

Mr Suniel Shetty, a Bollywood superstar and entrepreneur, who recently became part of the professional Indian arm wrestling competition, Pro Panja League (PPL), as a minority stakeholder, arrived at the event in Mumbai along with the league’s co-founders and Bollywood actors and producers, Mr Parvin Dabas and Ms Preeti Jhangiani, to commemorate the accomplishments of the debut season of the Panja competition.

The maiden season of the Pro Panja League is presently in progress at the IGI Stadium in New Delhi and has already seen 11 days of spectacular action. With 22 games and over 100 exciting fights thus far, the PPL has already captivated the interest of the spectators, as well as those following the live broadcast on Sony Sports Network and accessing the live stream on FanCode.

The competition’s finale will be held on August 13, and the points table is as unexpected as it can be. All six teams – Mumbai Muscle, Kiraak Hyderabad, Ludhiana Lions, Rohtak Rowdies, Baroda Badshahs, and Kochi KD’s – are in the mix for the inaugural first Pro Panja League crown, and it could turn out to be anyone’s triumph at this juncture.

Suniel, Parvin, and Preeti interacted with the media and explored the reaction to the arm wrestling league thus far. The trio also discussed their future intentions.

Suniel Shetty, said, “I have seen the passion from the co-founders in the last 2-3 years, especially in the earlier stages when they were putting this together. It’s not an easy sport to get a response from and hold on to the magic. I think this is the perfect platform. Additionally, Sony Sports Network are very passionate about sports itself, so it’s a great combination.”

Parvin Dabas, mentioned, “We’re not just going to do one league in a year. We’ve got several tournaments lined up throughout the year. Going forward, we will do a lot of things. Of course, we will be picking up on Suniel sir’s experience, business acumen, and understanding of sports to decide what would be the best steps for the league as we make further progress.”

Preeti Jhangiani, stated, “When I saw a Panja match for the first time, I was extremely fascinated. It was interesting to watch, and I strongly believe we are developing a strong female following for the sport. The rise of female panja players will help expedite the process.”

At the event, SportsMint Media also got an opportunity of having an exclusive interaction with Mr Suniel Shetty.

As an entrepreneur yourself, how can you use your experience for the development of PPL?

I think to do leagues, be it interschool, intercollege, interuniversity, or state-wise, the aim should be to keep people engaged and excited throughout the year, and it should never be that once the league is done, people should forget. There should be a continuous effort, which is already happening at the grassroots level like doing events at historic locations, thereby getting far more eyeballs. From the minute we get the right partners onboard, it will grow and spread; that’s how startups grow from the very beginning. It’s the investors who come up with ideas that help us grow.

To add to this, Mr Parvin Dabas, mentioned, “Something on the technology bit, we are adding sensors and pads like we have in tennis. Taking that forward, we have a couple of universities that are working on it. We are also planning to enhance technology in our league.”

In recent times, we have seen how Bollywood personalities have ventured into sports be it Sanjay Dutt acquiring ownership of Harare Hurricanes in Zim Afro T10 league or B-Love Kandy in Lanka Premier League (LPL) to Sonali Bendre, Rakul Preet Singh and Taapsee Pannu bagging Tennis Premier League (TPL) teams, Pune Jaguars, Hyderabad Strikers and Punjab Tigers, respectively, to now Suniel Shetty in PPL. It is certain that multiple high-net-worth individuals are venturing into the sports sector which will help generate a lot of wealth for local sports and athletes in the years to come.

Similarly to the PPL, other indigenous sports such as Kho-Kho and Kabbadi have already made their mark with tournaments such as Ultimate Kho-Kho and Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). These games are mostly cost-effective since they do not need large kits or equipment. Pro Panja League is already receiving well-deserved exposure through social media and broadcast partners Sony, which will undoubtedly propel the competition to new heights.

Furthermore, with the veteran Bollywood actor on board, the league could be looking to expand its reach quickly. The 61-year-old, known for his outstanding acting performances in any genre, has also carved out himself as an ace shareholder, businessperson, and producer over the years, venturing into hospitality with Mischief Dining Bar and Club H2O, in addition to investing in retail and start-ups featuring health-tech Vieroots, wellness nutrition brand BodyFirst, and fitness brand Aquatein.

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