Kabaddi league begins at Surrey high school

Surrey’s newest sports Kabaddi league is bringing a traditional Indian sport to younger generations.

“As long as I can remember, Kabaddi has been part of my community and I’ve always been going out to watch. This is the first time I got a chance to play and I love playing it,” said player Paulvir Dosanj.

Teams from Tamanawis, Enver Creek, L.A. Matheson and Panorama Ridge secondary schools have taken part in the first-ever Surrey High School Kabaddi League.

Kabaddi is a traditional Indian team sport falling somewhere between tag and red rover, with a lot of wrestling thrown in.

The rules are a little more complicated and the physical demands much higher.

Teams are positioned at opposite ends of a small field, with players standing barefoot.

There are 4 players on each side, called stoppers. They lock arms, as each team takes turns sending in a “raider.”

The raider tries to tag a member of the opposite team, earning a point, but only if he can get back across the centre line. The defending team tries to stop and hold the raider, most often with a tackle.

Connects parents, grandparents

The semi-final game played at L.A. Matheson Secondary School on Tuesday drew hundreds of spectators, many from the high school but also some older fans.

“Kabaddi is a sport that really resonates within this community. It carries memories for a lot of students’ fathers and grandparents,” said organizer Mandeep Dhaliwal.

He said it gives parents, grandparents and other elderly people in the community a way to connect to the schools.

“When they see a kabaddi game on, they walk over, and get a lot of pride,” he said.