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Monday, March 12, 2012

Indian Women win Gold in inagural Kabbadi World Cup

Very few would instantaneously recognize ‘Mamata Pujari’.  A search on Mamta might throw up – Mamata Banerjee, the present CM of West Bengal, heading the Trinamool Congress or Mamta Mohandas, the Keralite play back singer and film actress or even Mamta Kulkarni, former bolywood actress.

Last week there was a news item that the Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan announcing Rs. 1 crore each award to the 3 Maharashtra-based players of the World Cup-winning Indian kabaddi team -  Abhilasha Mhatre, Surekha Bartakke (Mumbai) and vice captain Deepika Joseph (Pune).  The team coach Ramesh Bhendgiri  also was awarded  Rs 25 lakh cash prize.  The three players and the coach were felicitated by CM  Chavan at Mantralaya where he stated that the State Govt is proud of the players who brought laurels to Maharashtra and he  is committed to encourage this sport.

Though she might never get recognized the way cine actress or cricketers are, Mamata Pujari who led the Indian women's  Kabbadi team to a victory in the  World Cup feels proud of her achievement.  She says it was a great win against Iran in the World Cup final at Patna earlier this month (Mar 2012).  Newspaper reports state it to be a great journey of triumph over adversity for this Udipi girl, born to parents who thrived on agriculture.  The Winning captain felt sad that not many watch Kabbadi – people not watching should not sadden but the fact not all sports are given the needed impetus and recognition should !

Not many would know and remember that in the 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China, India bagged two Golds in Kabbadi as the Women’s team also won a gold and Mamatha Poojary was a part of that squad.   She works for South Central Railways in Secunderabad – good that Indian Railways encourages many athletes that way.  Now Mamata has a dream – to be part of Olympic Gold winning team, though reports suggests that Kabbadi is most  unlikely to be introduced before the 2020 edition.

For information, India clinched the first women's Kabaddi World Cup championship title, defeating Iran 25-19 in the final played at Patlipura sports complex at Kankerbagh in Patna on 4th Mar 2012. In a thrilling encounter, the Indian eves held upper hand throughout the match and led their Iranian counterparts 19-11 at the half time.  At Patna, the crowds lent their full vocal support egging the Team to win the world cup. Earlier, India had outclassed Japan 60-21 while Iran defeated Thailand 46-26 in the two semifinals to set up a summit clash..

Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi gave away the trophy to India captain Mamata Pujari and medals to all members of the winning team.  Cinestar-turned-politician, Shatrughan Sinha, MP from Patalipura, handed over the runners-up trophy and silver medals to Iran, while state education minister PK Shahi and the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) president Janardan Singh Gehlot gave away bronze medals to Thailand and Japan.

Kabbadi was a very popular game in city Schools and in the districts of Tamilnadu.  Besides Tamilnadu, it is popular in Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra.   To explain it simply, 2 teams occupy opposite halves of a field and take turns sending a "raider" into the other half, in order to win points by tackling members of the opposing team; the raider then tries to return to his own half, holding his breath and chanting the word "Kabaddi" during the whole raid. The raider must not cross the lobby unless he touches any of his opponents. If he does so then he will be declared as "out".In the international team version of kabaddi, two teams of seven members each occupy opposite halves of a field of   :    10 m × 13 m in case of men     and 8 m × 12 m in case of women.

The recent one held in Patna, Bihar was the first of its kind and it is the  Women's Kabaddi World Cup 2012.  Indian Women are the title holders by winning the Finals. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
10th Mar 2012

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