The National Council of Sports (NCS) chairperson Don Rukare was excited with kabaddi during Friday’s exhibition in Lugogo but called for more safety in the nascent sport.
“They have a big community and I’m very impressed,” Rukare said at the event graced by executives from the Indian business community, the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Kumar, Uganda Boxing Federation boss Moses Muhangi and Table tennis’ Robert Jjagwe,
“But the game is too combative and they need to make safety a priority. This is something we can help develop with them such that more young people can be enticed to join.”
Injuries in kabaddi normally result from the struggle when the defenders attempt to stop a raider from getting back to the midline by holding on to their leg.
When defenders tackle by diving onto a raider, they could also sprain their wrists, elbows or shoulders. Back-kicks or side-kicks from a raider attempting to shoo away defenders can lead to injuries.
An uneven playing surface is another concern. Since kabaddi was introduced in Uganda in 2019, it’s played on pitches instead of the carpet.
Edgar Mujuni, chief executive of the Uganda Kabaddi Federation, said they have acquired a carpet with support from Bank of India.
“The players’ wellbeing is key to our growth and we are taking steps into that direction with our partners,” he said.
Ready for Kenya raid
The exhibition matches were also final dress rehearsal ahead of the Africa World Cup qualifiers due June 14-21 in Kenya.
Star Pirates put up a spirited fight to beat Superiors 32-31 in the men’s gruelling encounter.
“It was a close encounter,” Uganda’s top player Mulaalira said. “We have been in camp long enough and the fitness levels are high for each player. Only special moments could decide the game.”
But there was drama in the women’s show as Hustlers came from a 16-8 first half deficit to earn a 40-40 draw.
Angela Nakaye, Angel’s captain, was visibly disappointed, saying they had all the chances to win comfortably.
“I think we got complacent until they moved within touching distance and we failed to wheel away,” Nakaye said.
Her opposite number Olivia Nalubega was excited.
“This was a trial game and after the first half, we had to dig deep. It was not about that game but the opportunity to do our best because some of us want to turn pro at the earliest opportunity,” Nalubega, a Senior Three student at St Peter’s SS Kkungu, said.
About the sport
Just what is kabaddi?
Kabaddi, a combat sport with origins in India, pits two sides in a duel. One team member has to raid the enemy’s camp, who try to defend their territory. The intention of the raider is to touch any defender or cross the line into the ‘bonus line’ and return home to earn points. There is always a struggle between the raider and the defenders that calls for tenacity and agility.
Results | WOMEN
Angels 40-40 Hustlers
Star Pirates 32-31 Superiors