Kabaddi Sport Makes JKUAT Debut

Team JKUAT (in red) face-off with an opponent from All Stars Fc during the opening game

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has been selected to be a Center of Kabaddi Sport by the Kenya Kabaddi Union.

In bid to build capacity for the sport in the University, the Union has offered to train 12 students as professional kabaddi players, 2 head coaches, 2 managers and 4 international technical officials.

With the Sport slowly gaining traction in Kenya, Kenya Kabaddi Union organized a Kabaddi tournament at JKUAT on January 21, 2023 to further popularize the sport. The Union leveraged on the platform to build-up to an upcoming Intervarsity and Colleges Kabaddi competition set to be held in July 2023. JKUAT finished fourth in the tournament which featured 12 teams.

JKUAT’s Kabaddi Captain, Nelson Abungu was optimistic about the future of Kabaddi at JKUAT saying his boys showed a great fighting spirit despite playing the game for the first time and only training for a week.

Nelson who is currently in his Third Year of Study pursuing Geomatic Engineering expressed his gratitude to JKUAT and Kenya Kabaddi Union for collaborating to bring an exciting sport to the University.

“I would like to thank JKUAT and Kenya Kabaddi Union for bringing a new sport to the University to further help stimulate the mind and expand the talent search scope,” said Nelson.

Kabaddi is a combative contact sport, with seven players on each side; played for a period of 40 minutes with a 5 minutes break (20-5-20). The core objective of the game is to score points by raiding into the opponent’s court and touching as many defence players as possible without getting caught on a single breath.

Nelson Abuga(left) and rival captain from All Star Fc (right) receive game rules from the match official before the game

One player, chanting Kabaddi!!! Kabaddi!!!! Kabaddi!!!! Charges into the opponent court and try to touch the opponent closest to him, while the seven opponents make manoeuvres to catch the attacker. This is Kabaddi, the match of one against seven, known as the game of struggle.

The players on the defensive side are called “Antis” while the player of the offence is called the “Raider”. The attack in Kabaddi is known as a ‘Raid’. The antis touched by the raider during the attack are declared ‘out’ if they do not succeed in catching the raider before he returns to home court. These players can resume play only when their side scores points against the opposite side during their raiding turn or if the remaining players succeed in catching the opponent’s raider.

JKUAT Director of Sports, Dr. Waweru Kamaku urged students to develop an interest in the game in order to make JKUAT a fortress in Kabaddi.

He stated that students have no excuse but to excel in both academics and sports having many facilities at their exposure and array of sports to choose from.

Kenya Kabaddi Union, Secretary General, Mudaspack Otieno stated that the key to promoting the sport in the Country is moving the sport closer to the source of the talent.

Kabaddi match officials in a commemorative photo at JKUAT

“Promoting the kabaddi culture has not been an easy task, generally in Africa. For us as a union to ensure that the sporting culture gets to the youth, we have to go deep where they are, and for that, we thank JKUAT for giving us a platform to promote sports,” said Mr. Otieno.

Mr. Otieno who is also the national team coach added that his aim is to nurture the best athletes from Kenya to the world through kabaddi.

The contact sport is particularly popular in Southern Asia, and traces its history to Ancient India, with game played across the country in several states. It is also the national game in Bangladesh, and among the national sports in Nepal, where it is taught in all state schools.

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