ASA organised one of the biggest rural kabaddi festivals in India involving more than 5,500 children as part of the 50th anniversary of the organisation.
The festival was used as an opportunity to raise awareness on various social issues among the communities, especially the youth.
More than 5,500 children from eight regions of Andhra Pradesh participated in the Rural Kabaddi Festival 2019 organised by the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA). This festival recently concluded after 42 days making it one of the biggest grassroots kabaddi festivals in India, in terms of time and scale.
A total of 461 teams (265 boys teams and 196 girls teams) from 461 schools were involved in this festival which started on the 17th July and was organised as part of the 50 year celebrations of Rural Development Trust’s existence in Anantapur.
After a grilling fight at the village, area and regional level, the teams battled it out for the title of ‘champions’ on the 29th August, 2019 at the Anantapur Sports Village, a day boarding and residential facility of ASA for focused training of athletes.
In the boys category, Z.P. High School from Adoni took the trophy home with a close margin of 25 points against their opponents who scored 24. KGBV Sajeevapuram from Bathalapalli fought their way to be the champions in the girls category with an impressive score of 29.
Former international Kabaddi Player, Vishwanath Chowdhary, attended the finals as the chief guest and was accompanied by Chairman of RDT, Mr. Thippeswamy and other sector and regional directors.
Talking about the the event, Mr. Chowdhary said, “We are lucky to have this festival organised in Anantapur. The organisation is doing such amazing work using sport as a tool for development. Kabaddi is an indigenous sport and has great potential to reach out to the rural communities. All the teams played very well and I am happy to see the children playing in these wonderful facilities. I congratulate all the winners today and wish them the best.”
ASA believes in the potential of sport to bring communities together, particularly those among the underprivileged, and this laid the foundation for organising sports festivals. ASA started with the maiden “Rural Kabaddi Festival” in the early 1980s and kabaddi was chosen as it was popular among the masses, particularly in the rural areas covering a diverse demographic.
But this indigenous contact sport has not only been used to develop a sporting culture by ASA but also as a medium to conduct awareness programmes on education, gender equality and environmental conservation due to the involvement of young boys and girls in large numbers.
Vamshi Origanti, the coordinator of the Rural Kabaddi Festival 2019 said, “The kind of support Rural Kabaddi Festival 2019 has received from the rural communities is very positive. Regardless of age and gender, everyone in the villages gathered to watch and encourage the players during the matches. This shows that Kabaddi has its own place in the hearts of the people.”
The finale event ended with a live screening of National Sports Awards presentation as ASA was awarded with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India presented by the President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind in the sports for development category.
Text: Ernest Abhishek