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KHDA scores a diplomatic Kabaddi win.

Summary: The popular contact sport, played with minimum equipment, got its first-ever league match in Dubai

Dhanusha Gokulan

The game triggers presence of mind, team management, physical strength and understanding opponent's strategy. (Shihab)

'Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi.', chanted team members of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) just before scoring the final winning point against the team from the Consulate-General of India. The jubilant eight-team member team from the KHDA reacted to their victory by lifting Director-General of the authority Dr Abdulla Al Karam into the air and cheering loudly.

The popular contact sport, played with minimum equipment, got its first-ever league match in Dubai as the Indian High School (IHS), in collaboration with the KHDA and the Indian Consulate, launched the 'Kabaddi League'. The two-day league finals took place at the Indian High School, Oud Metha, on Friday, to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UAE.

While the first half of the games were played by students, teachers, parents, and support staff from various schools, the final segment of the games witnessed a friendly match between the CGI and KHDA. The two teams were the star attraction for the evening as senior officials and support staff members of the KHDA, led by Dr Karam, played against officers and consuls of the Consulate-General of India, led by Consul-General Vipul.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the event, Dr Karam said: "I felt a real connection with the game after I played it for the first time at the Dubai 30x30 Challenge. The IHS and the CGI have done a great job by launching the league, and the timing is perfect as in coincides with the coming of honourable Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi."

He added: "It's a fantastic sport, and we're looking at making the sport a part of the education system. It is great for the health of the students as well. Also, I really enjoyed playing against the officers of the CGI. Better luck to them next time."

The education authority's superior defence tactics helped the team gain edge over players from the consulate in the second-half of the game.

Consul-General Vipul said: "With the spirit of celebration for India completing 70 years of its independence, this tournament pays homage by bringing an Indian rural game to the international forefront. We first started with bringing yoga to international attention, and now we want to look at making kabaddi the next big thing from India."

A total of eight schools competed with their efficient and energetic teams for the Kabaddi Cup semifinals. Gems Modern Academy, the Millennium School, Delta English School and Crescent English High School are the names of the few participating teams. Students from the Millennium School Dubai took home the winner's trophy.

There was also a round of entertaining matches between the parents' team and IHS staff and Gems Modern Academy staff. Ashok Kumar, CEO of Indian High School, said: "The school plans to organise summer training camps in affiliation with the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI). We will host these camps within its premises and will keep them open to all school students."

What is Kabaddi?

Kabaddi is a combative sport and is believed to be akin to practising yoga, where players control their mind and body through self-control and concentration. The game triggers presence of mind, team management, physical strength and understanding opponent's strategy.

The basic rules of Kabaddi are simple: Two teams of seven players each face off in a large square arena for two halves of 20 minutes each. Players from each team take turns running across the centre line to the other team's half of the court, tagging members of the other team, and running back.

Dhanusha Gokulan The resident transport and traffic expert, with a touch of music, culture, and youth. I report on everything from rent hikes to traffic jams, from 'most expensive' experiences to tallest buildings, from encouraging upcoming talents to camels laughing. I've been a journalist for seven years and I am ridiculously passionate about music, books, internet memes, Facebook procrastination, and the occasional sport activity (candycrush).

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 9, 2018
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