The organisers had arranged for everything to make Kabaddi matches entertaining – a podium similar to the one provided for cheer leaders in IPL cricket matches, high decibel music, well-decorated stage, and seating arrangements for audience. But the most important requirement — the pitch — was not ready.
This was the scene on Thursday at the New Mangalore Port Trust grounds when the four-day long All India Invitation Kabaddi Tournament For Men and Women 2011 began.
The event is organised jointly by Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and the Jaya Karnataka .
The programme was delayed as the organisers were running up and down to prepare the pitch for Kabaddi. “We did not get time to prepare the pitches because of recent heavy rains,” said an organiser. It was around 3 p.m. that some local school principals and a few workers started working to give shape to the four pitches where the matches would be played.
To remove unevenness in the pitches, they had to put sand, sprayed water on it and used heavy rollers. Despite their efforts, the pitches continued to be uneven. They were forced to stop their work when athletes entered the ground in a procession around 6.30 p.m.
Around 20 teams of boys and girls, including one from Bhilai Steel Plant and another from Alva's College in Moodbidri, are participating in the tournament. The teams were brought in a procession from Panambur's local Nandaneshwara Temple. The procession was led by Dollukunita, Yakshagana and other local artistes.
MP Oscar Fernandes inaugurated the event. INTUC Karnataka unit president N.M. Adyanthaya and the former Minister K.J. George were present.