- Chief Minister to inaugurate Appachattolanda Cup tourney tomorrow at Napoklu
- 5,000 players, 336 family teams to participate in 23-day Fest from Mar. 18 to Apr. 9
Madikeri/Kushalnagar: In the sports season of 2023 while many associations and organisations are organising events like cricket, football, volleyball or kabaddi, the families of Kodagu are gearing up for the 23rd Edition of Kodava Family Hockey Festival that will be held from Mar. 18 to Apr. 9 and this time, the Appachattolanda family is hosting the tourney.
Already, 336 families have registered for the tournament with high stakes. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will inaugurate the fest tomorrow at 3.10 pm at General Thimayya Taluk Stadium in Napoklu.
The game is being held under the aegis of Kodava Hockey Academy and the winning team will get a Silver Rolling Trophy which has been instituted for the first time. The winning team will also get a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh on behalf of the Appachattolanda family and the runner-up team will get Rs. 2 lakh.
The team that scores third place will get Rs. 1 lakh and the teams that come fourth and fifth will get Rs. 50,000 each. The five best tournament players will get ‘Peechekathi’, the Kodava traditional ornament worn by men on their waist.
For the last several decades, hockey players from Kodagu have found representation in the Indian team at the Olympics and the tradition has its roots in families that play at the local level where unique gaming talents emerge and are identified and promoted.
Foundation laid by Pandanda Kuttani
Hockey received a new lease of life in Kodagu after Pandanda Kuttappa, popularly known as Kuttani, a retired State Bank of India official and a hockey enthusiast, started a family hockey tournament exclusively for the Kodavas in 1997 and 60 families participated. This is a unique format where members of various Kodava families or ‘Okka’ in the local dialect, play against each other.
There is no age or gender bar for participating in the matches. Among over 700 Kodava families, more than 300 are taking an active interest now and displaying their talent in highly competitive matches with high-calibre games.
Apart from being a great sporting event that bonds the community, the event has become a social gathering with family members cheering their teams.
Whenever the tournament is held, the location and the surrounding towns sport a festive atmosphere and the venue is full of stalls serving delectable dishes, selling traditional dresses and outfits and also promoting Kodava culture and ethnic values.
Previous hockey fest in 2018
The family hockey tournament has not been held since 2019 following the unprecedented landslides in Kodagu in 2017 and 2018. It could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, the 22nd Kulletira Hockey Festival saw the participation of 329 teams.
In 2022, the Mukkatira family was the hockey festival host but the tournament was shelved as there were no big sponsors and even the State Government kept mum on grants.
The total estimated expense of the tournament is said to be in the range of Rs. 1.5 crore to Rs. 2 crore and the State Government has released Rs. 1 crore. Speaking to Star of Mysore, President of Appachattolanda Hockey Festival Appachattolanda Manu Muthappa said that as 336 teams have already registered, the Appachattolanda tournament has broken all records. The previous hockey tournament hosted by Kulletira family had broken the Limca Book of Records for the highest number of team participation.
Before the inauguration, a huge procession will be held from Napoklu town to the match venue and will comprise Kodava cultural aspects, dresses, music and other cultural troupes. A tournament flag will be hoisted and gunshots will be fired in the air by 23 persons.
“We have a couple of sponsors, donors and money has been pooled in from the Appachattolanda family. The first exhibition match will be played between 37 Coorg Field Regiment Vs Kodava Hockey Academy 11. After the inauguration by the CM and the stage programme, the first match will be played between India Junior 11 and Karnataka 11. More than 5,000 players are expected to take part in this tournament and will be officiated by 50 officials, technical members and umpires,” he added.
Gallery worth Rs. 32 lakh
For the convenience of the spectators, a huge gallery (bamboo bleachers) has been built at a cost of Rs. 32 lakh where more than 25,000 people can be seated. “Three full-fledged hockey grounds have been built in one vast ground with a spectator gallery,” Manu Muthappa added.
As there are three grounds, per day seven matches will be played per ground and overall, there will be 21 matches per day and 42 teams will take part. From the pre-quarterfinal stage, only one main ground will be used as the elimination rounds will be completed.
“We want to hand-pick at least 24 budding hockey talents during the tournament. Kodava Hockey Academy, Hockey Coorg and Hockey Karnataka Mission National Squad will assist us in this endeavour,” he revealed.
“We have decided to reserve 4 percent of the total money saved in the tournament to be handed over to orphanages and old age homes in Kodagu. This is for the first time that the tournament organising family has decided to donate money for the cause of humanity,” he said.
An exclusive website https://appachettolanda.com/ has been created for all info about the event.