Kabaddi, a very local, very ‘only Indian’ kind of sport is now gaining some well deserved limelight. And probably prompted by this, there are many other such ‘local’ sports which are gaining popularity, especially many of the street games. Do you remember gilli-danda? Now it too seems to have gained some popularity and scores of ‘Rajni’ jokes are gaining ground.
Another sport is the humble goti or marbles. A typical rural game, it now seems to have a very popular sport in many hotels and clubs in Kerala. The game has got so popular that it is all set to make an appearance in hotels/clubs of other states. And then there are the other games too - lagori and killithathu which are gaining huge popularity. There is actually a goti team - Sijin B.T in Kerala which conducts tournaments for an elite hotel in Cochin. They hold something known as ‘The Goti Tour’ with proper outfits, with rules, shoes and gloves. In fact it was a revelation to know that Anil Kumble’s sports tournament company, Tenvic, is promoting goti, lagori and hopscotch in a few schools in Karnataka, Maharashtra and New Delhi.
Life seems to have changed for the good of those playing in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) and this is probably what is encouraging other street games. A participant, Balamahendran, who also works as a Tamil Nadu policeman, said that his life has changed with the coming of PKL and when he now travels, people actually recognize him. In fact it was kabaddi which landed him a job in Tamil Nadu police force. He earned some Rs.5 lakh in the auction. Good to know that there are more sports gaining popularity and it is not just a ‘only cricket’ country.