Men of Soil : How Kabaddi is evolving as the most popular sport in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Amateur Kabaddi Association along with a local organiser recently organised the 46th Tamil Nadu Junior Boys and Girls State Championship earlier this month on the dates 29th November to 1st December in Pochampalli, Tamil Nadu. This tournament saw 32 teams each from Boys and Girls which was played in a league cum knockout format. The 3 day tournament started off with former Indian Player and coach of multiple PKL teams Mr. Bhaskaran who showered his presence in Pochampalli to inaugurate the tournament and tournament was underway before rain played spoilsport on day 2 which meant that day 3 will be a long day ahead for everyone but TNAKA and the Organiser made sure the tournament was done and dusted on the evening of day 3.
Thirunalveli emerged as champions in the boys where they defeated Thoothukudi in a one sided contest with the score reading 27-15.
In the girls, it was Namakkal who dominated throughout the tournament and won the final against Erode with the score reading 24-13.
The scheduling of the tournament was done in a very unique and interesting way to ensure good competition between the teams, the previous winner and runner get placed in Pool A and B respectively, post which the 3rd and 4th placed team is chosen for Pool C using a lot system and the rest of the teams are divided into pools using a random lot system, 32 teams are divided into 8 groups. This system remains same for both boys and girls in all state championships organised by TNAKA.
Key highlight of this tournament was when the rain came down pouring on the day 2 of the tournament due to the cyclone in the costal areas of Tamil Nadu which effected the games on that day, day 2 was a crucial day for the tournament as a large chunk of games were supposed to be played that day. Rain kept the games away and finally when the rain got heavy in the evening and Organiser and TNAKA had to call off the day as the ground was not in a condition to host games. To make things worse there was rain in the forecast in the following day too, but the Organiser was hopeful to get things on track on final day of the tournament. All thanks to Mr. Gopalan who is the Convenor of the Referee's board who is the main man who is responsible for smooth conduct of any state hosted Kabaddi event that happens in the Tamil Nadu, who made sure the matches were conducted from as early as 7am on Day 3 and conducted matches without any break even as rain kept pouring in but there were people spreading mud on the court every time there was a break and also the officials who were doing their job in the rain to successfully finish the matches by 7pm in the evening. There were 60+ matches conducted on the last day spread out in 4 mats for both boys and girls which is remarkable achievement by TNAKA and Organiser which talks a lot about how passionate they are of the sport.
The Organiser and TNAKA have organised a complex tournament well. Mr. Saffiulla - General Secretary Tamil Nadu Amateur Kabaddi Association while talking to Kabaddi Adda said that his vision is to grow Tamil Nadu Kabaddi to its true potential and bring in some sort of structure in the sport to ensure Kabaddi grows in the state and country as well.
The venue was more than 30 kms from the nearest big town - Krishnagiri and yet the fan interest in the sport is so high, in spite of the rain fans were thronging the arena on all 3 days.
This love of the fan for Kabaddi is why we are also investing and helping in growing the sport