Kadirur village in Kerala ‘on a raid’ to become national kabaddi hub

Kunhali Vetummal, a local kabaddi club, is credited with leading Kadirur to kabaddi fame.
Players practise on the new synthetic mat at the Kadirur panchayat auditorium
Players practise on the new synthetic mat at the Kadirur panchayat auditoriumPhoto | Express

KANNUR: For Kadirur residents, kabaddi is not just a sport but an emotion. The deep-rooted passion for the sport permeates the community, with many households in the panchayat boasting at least one kabaddi player. For them, kabaddi holds as much significance as cricket or football, if not more.

Currently, this village in Kannur district has 13 state and national players. The panchayat’s goal is to become a national hub for kabaddi talent within a few years.

To realise this dream, and to give further impetus to the sport, the panchayat has launched a flagship project aimed at nurturing kabaddi talent. As part of the initiative, 70 students from Kadirur Government High School have been selected for specialised training, bringing the total number of trainees under the panchayat project to 140.

To support the endeavour, the panchayat has made an annual estimate of Rs 5 lakh to provide necessary facilities for the players. As an initial step, the panchayat has purchased synthetic mats spending Rs 2.5 lakh. The panchayat hall has now transformed into a top class training camp.

“A number of kabaddi clubs have existed in the panchayat for the past several decades. Kabaddi is the spirit of our people. Earlier, players used to practice on muddy grounds. When they compete in professional matches, it becomes very difficult for them to perform as those matches are held on synthetic mats. Players used to practise on rented mats, spending `300 per day. That’s why the panchayat decided to buy the synthetic mat,” said panchayat president P P Sanil.

Kunhali Vetummal, a local kabaddi club, is credited with leading Kadirur to kabaddi fame.

Five members of the Kunhali Vetummal team were selected to the state team, which attracted more people to kabaddi. K K Arjun, Amarjith K K, Vaishak R Atul (district captain), and Sohin (junior Kerala team member) made it to the state team. Many women players too have emerged through the kabaddi training started under the leadership of the panchayat. Ashika Sugathan is a sub-junior national team member.

Panchayat offers all aid to kabaddi players

Alka Rajeevan (senior Kerala), Siya Anish, Sayanora (junior Kerala), Sreesiva, Ananya, Anunanda, and Ritunanda (senior Kerala) are the other proud stars of Kadirur.

The panchayat also provides nutritious food and other basic facilities for the players. The panchayat will be spending Rs 1.5 lakh from governmental funds. The remaining money will be raised through sponsorships.

Players under the panchayat project excel in academic matters as well. “When we give proper training to the players, they become more focused. It also helps them achieve good scores in schools and colleges,” said team coach Shabir Vetummal.

District panchayat president P P Divya will officially inaugurate the kabaddi training programme and distribute synthetic mats on July 8.

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