Kabaddi Contest Enlivens Annual IVCC
By Talat Sattar


Coach Parmjit Sandhu
Dave Jones

Last Sunday, I attended the annual picnic of the Indus Valley Chamber of Commerce and was pleasantly surprised to see a demonstration of the exciting game of kabbadi by two local teams - California Kabaddi and Union City Kabaddi. The keenly contested match generated great interest as the Union City team won.
Parmjit Sandhu, coach of Union City Kabaddi, had more surprises in store for me. Kabaddi, he claimed, was one of the most popular games in the United States and besides desi players it enjoyed the support of Caucasian and Afro-Asian enthusiasts too.
Kabaddi is a team sport that originated in South Asia. It is popular throughout South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is the national game of Bangladesh, and the state game of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh in India. The words kabaddi, kabaddi, gamely chanted during a game, derive from a Hindi word that means "holding of breath", which is indeed a crucial aspect of play.
In the contest, two teams of seven players each, occupy the opposite halves of a field of 12.5m x 10m (roughly half the size of a basketball court). Each team has five additional players who are held in reserve. The game is divided into two 20-minute halves, with a five-minute half-time break during which the teams switch sides.
The teams take turns sending a "raider" across to the opposite team's half, where the goal is to tag or wrestle ("capture") members of the opposite team before returning to the home half. Tagged members are "out" and are sent off the field. Traditionally, the raider was not allowed to take a breath during the raid, and had to prove this by constantly chanting during the raid.
Meanwhile, the defenders must form a chain, for example by joining hands; if the chain is broken, a member of the defending team is sent off. The goal of the defenders is to stop the raider from returning to the home side before taking a breath. If the raider takes a breath before returning to the home side, the raider is out and is sent off the field.
A player can also get "out" by going over a boundary line during the course of play or if any part of the player's body touches the ground outside the boundary, except during struggle with an opposing team member.
Each time a player is declared out, the opposing team earns a point. A team scores a bonus of two points, called a lona, if the entire opposing team is declared out. At the end of the game, the team with more points is the winner.
The picnic was arranged by the Indus Valley Chamber of Commerce in the oak-shaded Elk Grove Park. The well organized event was attended by hundreds of community members from diverse backgrounds. Colorful kameez shalwars were visible everywhere in the park creating an Eid or Diwali like environment. Plenty of parking was available and participants were offered a variety of food free of charge.
The keynote speaker Honorable Dave Jones, (D-Sacramento), who represents the 9th District in the California State Assembly, thanked the chamber for inviting him to the event. California is lucky to have people from Pakistan and India whose contribution cannot be ignored, Dave Jones added. Commenting on the recent hate crime incident in Sacramento in which a young Fijian youth was killed by Russian immigrants, Dave Jones said that such hate crimes will not be tolerated in California. Dave Jones said that together we would make the State of California better for every one living here. Jones chairs the Assembly Judiciary Committee and serves on the standing committees of the Assembly of Budget, Health, Agriculture, and Utilities and Commerce.
The event was followed by a volleyball tournament in which several local teams participated.
The effort of Sarla and Sukhchain for arranging such a wonderful event deserves to be duly acknowledged. Jimmy’s Indian Restaurant also needs to be commended for providing free hot cholay and bhaturas.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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