Kodava hockey fest from Sunday

Kodava hockey fest from Sunday

Stick with hockey: Ashwini Nachappa at a press conference to announce the Kodava hockey festival. DH photo

The Maneyapanda family, the hosts this time, are leaving no stone unturned in turning this event a big success.

“Its a great pleasure for the Maneyapanda family to be hosting the tournament that is rooted deep in the heart of Kodavas,” said former athlete Ashwini Nachappa at a press conference here to announce the tournament. “Until last year the tournament was just considered as a get-together for the Kodavas. It pains us that Kodavas, who have contributed so much for the development of hockey in India, has no representation in the Indian squad.

“So, this year, we decided that apart from being a festival the tournament needs to provide a platform for the players to exhibit their talent. Hence we have organised an exhibition match between current and former India internationals versus Coorg XI. Players like Dhanraj Pillay, Prabhjot Singh, Bimal Lakra and our fellow Kodava AB Subbaiah are expected to play,” added Ashwini.

A total of 214 families will compete on a knock-out basis with the final set for May 9. The winners will be richer by Rs one lakh while the runners-up will receive Rs 75,000 and the third-placed team Rs 50,000.

“Generally, only members of the families that were contesting against each other formed the spectators. To pull more crowd in, the Maneyapanda family will be organising daily raffle draws where a person attending the match has a chance to walk away with an attractive prize,” said Ashwini.

Deccan Charters Limited will offer helicopter rides around the scenic coffee estates. The opening ceremony on April 18 will be attended by Union Sports Minister MS Gill. Kannada music director Guru Kiran will apply finishing touches to the festival with a three-hour concert on the final day.

“As said earlier, we want to really up the ante this year. We don’t want it to be a regular, run-of-the-mill stuff. With Embassy Group being our main sponsors, we intend to make this event a big and memorable one. The family that conducts the event next year should have a tough task,” said Ashwini.Gill, during his visit, will also inaugurate Ashwini’s Sports Foundation at Gonikoppal on Saturday.

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