MADIKERI: The passion for hockey in Kodagu is unmatchable and the district has contributed largely to the Indian Hockey team.
While the district annually hosted the record-breaking hockey tournament, the same has met with hurdles from the past three years.
Nevertheless, the passionate hockey lovers have alternate platforms to showcase their enthusiasm and one such pompous hockey tournament will soon be launched at FMKM Cariappa Hockey Arena in Bengaluru.
CCCA 5 A side open Hockey tournament will unfurl from April 2 to April 4 and will witness participation from 24 teams across South India.
What is notable about this tournament is that it is being hosted by hockey enthusiasts from Kodagu - who call themselves the Coorg Challengers Chickpet Association (CCCA).
Further, this tournament will enable a close competition among hockey veterans even as NRIs from Kodagu who recently moved back to India following the pandemic, have formed a new team to take part in the tournament.
“CCCA is a group of hockey-loving people. The group consists of nearly 40 individuals from 14 different Kodava families. And we are all natives of Chickpet in Virajpet who are now settled in Bengaluru,” explained Mukkatira Somaiah, one of the core members of CCCA.
He stated that CCCA was formed with a vision to promote hockey while also providing support to the needy.
“Through CCCA 5A hockey tournament, we raise funds from hockey lovers and philanthropists. The money from the tournament is then donated to Cheshire Home Bangalore in Bengaluru,” he said. The association also promotes sports learning among youngsters as it has supported many sports aspirants financially.
“The tournament is organized under the aegis of Hockey India and Hockey Karnataka and will witness participation from many professional hockey players. We have chosen 5A Hockey tournament as this is a skillful game and it involves unique stick work. The cash prizes to winners are also elaborate,” he added.
The tournament has grabbed the attention of hockey players from across the country even as a new team from Kodagu – Team Coorg Gulf will take part this year.
A group of residents who are natives of Kodagu and who were settled in Muscat and UAE continued their passion for hockey aboard with the founding of Team Coorg Muscat and Team Coorg UAE a few years ago.
“Mekerira Bellu Kuttappa, a hockey enthusiast who was working in Muscat founded Team Coorg Muscat. Similarly, natives of Kodagu working in UAE formed the Team Coorg UAE. We used to often take part in hockey tournaments in Oman. However, all of us have returned to India following the pandemic and the two teams have been reformed as Team Coorg Gulf,” explained Vikram Uthappa, one of the core members of the team.
While the pandemic situation had put most of the sports activities to rest, the Team Coorg Gulf members are excited to launch themselves in India with the CCCA 5A hockey tournament.
While 24 teams have registered for the tournament, three teams in total will take part from Kodagu. Further, veteran hockey players VR Raghurathan, Nikhin Thimmaiah, and Arjun Halappa among others will be part of the event.
Somaiah also confirmed that hockey player Dhanraj Pilay is likely to be present during the final game of the tournament, which is likely to witness an exhibition match between former Olympians and international hockey players.