306 teams vie for top honours in Kodava family hockey festival

As many as 306 teams have enrolled for the prestigious Kodava family hockey tournament scheduled to begin here on Monday. With Biddatanda family hosting this edition of the annual tournament, the event is named Biddatanda Hockey Namme-2017.

The hockey festival, in its 21st year, promises to a treat for hockey buffs with a record number of teams are vying for the top prize. The tournament has produced fine talents over the years some of whom have made the cut into state and national teams. The matches will be played at three grounds - two at Gen Thimayya Stadium at Cheriyaparambu, and at Govt PU College ground.

Grounds Committee chairman B B Belyappa said, “Final touches are being given to the grounds to make them match-ready at a cost of Rs 16 lakh. The 27-day tournament is being organised at a cost of Rs 1.6 crore.”

Thunder showers, in the recent past, in the run up to the competition have delayed the preparations. With rain taking a break on Saturday, the groundsmen took up the last-minute preparations to make the grounds ready for the matches, starting on Monday.

For the first time in the history of the tournament, a metal gallery has been erected for the benefit of the spectators. The organisers have also made necessary arrangements like mats, sound system, lighting, media gallery at a cost of Rs 33.50 lakh.

As many as waterproof make-shift food stalls have been set up at the grounds. Safety measures are also in place with shade nets covering the banks of Cauvery river to prevent people from venturing into water and contaminating the same.

Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha had promised Rs 30 lakh from his MPLAD funds for the tournament but released only Rs 20 lakh. Zilla Panchayat is also expected to chip in with Rs 4 lakh for building a check wall.

MLC Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh. Legislators K G Bopaiah and MLC Suneel Subramani too have promised funds.

Hockey India, Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Kodagu and Umpire Association have extended their support to the event. President of Umpire Association Katumaniyanda Umesh has taken over the mantle of supervising the matches.

According to technical director of Biddatanda Hockey Namme B S Thammaiah, seating facilities have been made for 20,000 people. It includes 4,000 seats for VIPs. Parking facilities have been made on 15 acres of land.

Hockey Olympian Anjaparavanda B Subbaiah will inaugurate the tournament on April 17 at 10.30 am. Founder of Hockey Namme, Pandanda M Kuttappa, will be the chief guest, while Prof B C Ponnappa of Biddatanda clan will preside over the inaugural function.

Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai, former minister M C Nanaiah, MP Prathap Simha, MLAs K G Bopaiah and Appachu Ranjan, MLCs Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah and Suneel Subramani, SP P Rajendra Prasad, president of Kodagu Hockey Association Pykera Kalaiah and Muliya Prasad from Muliya Foundation are also expected to attend the inaugural session.

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