On March 25, 250 ladies/girls as well as 650 men/boys of all age groups from all across the country, put on their sports gear and gathered in Leicester and Derby respectively to compete in three very different games: Kabaddi, Kho-Kho and Ring. These traditional Indian games challenged all participants to demonstrate their skills, strength, teamwork and tactics, all of which needed to be present to lift the trophy at the end. For both Hindu Sevika Samiti UK (the ladies) and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (the men) the level of competition had never been higher especially with the Olympics just a few months away.
Samiti participants were fortunate to be in the presence of the England Women’s Kabaddi team (formed from serving members of the Armed Forces), their coach Shri Ashok Das (President of European Kabaddi Federation) and Smt Kawal Das (General Secretary of England Kabaddi Association). Everyone present was inspired to see the England team playing the Indian sport so passionately at an international level. A few were very fortunate to have an opportunity of playing Kabaddi with the England team, leaving the spectators stunned. Throughout the day the demonstration of all the sports was at its highest.
Shri Ashok Das spoke regarding the history of Kabaddi where he stated that it is 6000 years old and in the ancient times Lord Buddha played this game too. He spoke of how the techniques we use in this game relate back to the times of the Mahabharata where he gave an example of the raider who is going to the opposite team to raid and the team try to prevent the raider from returning back by circling around, very similar to the chakravyuha (disc formation) technique used in the Mahabharata where Abhimanyu during the war of Kurukshetra had entered but was unable to get out.
After all the games were played, the winners were finally announced for Samiti with Ashton being Champions of Kabaddi, Woolwich winning Kho-Kho and Birmingham becoming Lords (or Ladies) of the Ring! For Sangh we had Birmingham winning Kabaddi and Finchley winning both Kho-Kho and Ring. With such a brilliant atmosphere and community spirit, everyone there was enthused to keep up the practice and come again next year with an even higher standard of play.