It's time for annual hockey mania in Kodagu district

4,000 hockey players to make it to Guinness World Records

 With less than a fortnight left, Kodagu district is gearing up for annual family sports festival in hockey. The 21st hockey tournament will be played from April 17 at Napoklu here.

The tourney is expected to enter Guinness Book of World records with 4,000 hockey players taking part in the sports festival.

Two pitches are being readied at Cheriyaparambu Ground, also considered as Madikeri taluk stadium, near Napoklu. Another pitch is taking shape at government high school ground.

Till recently, 260 hockey playing Kodava families have enrolled for the tourney, with 25 more teams expected to join after the date for registration was extended, said Biddatanda Thammaiah, Kodava Sahitya Akademi chairman and head of Biddatanda family, who has taken up the mantle of organising the tournament this time at the cost of Rs 1.10 crore.

Thammaiah said, “The highlight of the event is the exhibition match between some of the players of India hockey squad and Coorg Regiment personnel from the Army. Kodavara Katthiyat, Bolkat and Ummathat, the epitome of Kodava culture will also be demonstrated.”
He said a ground will also be developed further, in commemoration of the event.

In the initial stage, matches will be played at all the three grounds with 24 ties listed every day. In the later stages, as the teams eliminate, the action will be restricted to two grounds, said Ramesh Chengappa, chairman of hockey festival committee.

The government has sanctioned Rs 33 lakh towards the expenses while Mysuru-Kodagu MP Prathap Simha has released Rs 30 lakh from his MPLAD fund. MLC Veena Achaiah has given Rs five lakh and zilla panchayat member Murali has extended Rs two lakh towards the expenses.

Taking cognisance of growing tribe of hockey fans in the district, a wide gallery with a seating capacity for 30,000 and LED screen has been planned.

Chairman of grounds committee Belyappa said the event will be kicked off on April 17 afternoon. If it rains, it has been decided to reserve additional seven days for the matches. The inaugural session will be followed by Kodava cultural programmes.

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