Madanda Cup-2013, this year’s version of the annual Kodava hockey festival, is being organised by the Madanda family, and is currently underway at Balugodu near Virajpet in Kodagu. The festival has earned the distinction of being the most eagerly looked forward to event by the Kodava families in the district since the last 16 years.

The founder of the festival, Pandanda Kuttappa (Kuttani), hit a silver hockey ball with a silver hockey stick to formally inaugurate the festival at the grounds of the Kodava Sports and Cultural Centre, amidst applause from a large crowd, on April 14. As many as 225 Kodava family teams are participating in the 24-day fest and many teams have already been eliminated.

This is the first time the festival is being organised at the Kodava Sports and Cultural Centre at Balugodu, where the entire complex is coming up at an estimated cost of over Rs. 12 crore. A sum of nearly Rs. 4 crore had already been invested. The matches are being held simultaneously on two grounds located adjacent to each other. All previous 16 editions of the festivals were held in different venues of the district with Ponnampet and Ammathi having the credit of hosting most of the festivals.

Every member in a family irrespective of age or gender could play for their teams. There have been several instances where father-son-daughter combination had played for a particular family team. The festival is already is the Limca Book of Records for it sheer magnitude and volume in terms of number of participants and visitors to the matches.

According to Mr. Kuttappa, the very purpose of organising the festival is to bring the Kodava clans under one roof and help enhance camaraderie. Indeed, it has helped forge many matrimonial alliances and cement the bonds of friendship between the Kodava clans, besides restoring relationships among members of the same families. The festival, which did not have a competitive edge initially, had also thrown up some wonderful talents that have donned the State and national colours successfully.

As usual, on the day of inauguration of the festival, guests and senior members of the organising family would arrive in a procession from the main entrance of the centre to the ground. Madanda family members had the honour of unfurling the family flag this year by virtue of being the organisers while Mr. Kuttappa unfurled the flag of the Kodava Hockey Academy, under whose aegis the festival is being held. Olympian Anjaparavanda B. Subbaiah, who was conferred a doctorate by the Mangalore University recently, was felicitated on the occasion by the Madanda family members.

The president of the Federation of Kodava Samaja, Mallengada N. Belliappa, who was the guest, addressing the gathering, utilised the opportunity to appeal to the members of the Kodava community to come up with contributions to help complete the Kodava Sports and Cultural Centre and make it a model in the entire State.

Government sponsorship

What is significant about the festival is that it has been able to garner support from the State government in the form of sponsorships since 2008. Starting from Rs. 5 lakh, it went up to Rs. 30 lakh in 2012 and could garner more in the coming years. Speaker of the just dissolved Legislative Assembly, K.G. Bopaiah, was instrumental in securing this largesse from the government. Reputable private companies too have been making a beeline to sponsor the festivals these days. The government also promises to come up with more synthetic hockey playing surfaces in the district to encourage local talent, keeping in view the rich hockey tradition in Kodagu.

Many hockey stars such as Maleyanda D. Muthappa, Mollera P. Ganesh, Maneyapanda Somaiah, Anjaparavanda B. Subbaiah, Baleyada Subramani, Paikera Kalaiah, Baleyada Poonacha and Sannuvanda Uthappa among the new crop, and a host of others playing for leading hockey institutions hail from Kodagu. Even non-Kodava players have made the district proud such as V.R. Raghunath, who is currently the vice-caption of the Indian team, S.V. Sunil, V.S. Vinay, and Arjun Halappa carrying forward the rich hockey tradition of the district.

Mr. Bopaiah has said that efforts would be made to get more number of synthetic hockey playing surfaces laid in different parts of the district.

The event has now drawn the attention of Hockey India. Its president, Mariamma Koshy, had attended the Iychettira Cup Kodava Hockey Festival last year held at Ammathi. She had promised help to lay three more synthetic hockey playing surfaces in Kodagu district, if the district administration sent proposals in that regard. Chief Coach of the Indian hockey team, Michael Nobbs, was present on that occasion.

The Vice-Chairman of the Murugappa Group, M.M. Murugappan, who was a guest at the Iychettira Cup last year, had lauded the hockey tradition in Kodagu, saying the game has enhanced the prestige of Kodagu in all forums. His company was closely associated with the game of hockey in the last 50 years by conducting prestigious hockey tournaments, he had stated.

Kootanda, Kullettira, Palanganda and Nellamakkada families have accounted for a large number of wins in the festivals so far.

The ‘Pandanda Cup’ held for the first time in 1997 was won by Kaliyanda family team. Kullettira team won the ‘Kodira Cup’ in 1998, Kootanda and Kulletira were joint winners of the ‘Ballachanda Cup’ in 1999, Kootanda won the ‘Cheppudira Cup’ in 2000, Kootanda won again the ‘Nellamakkada Cup’ in 2001, Kullettira won the ‘Chekkera Cup’ in 2002, and Nellamakkada won the ‘Kaliyanda Cup’ in 2003.

Kootanda won the ‘Maleyanda Cup’ in 2004, Nellamakkada won the ‘Biddanda Cup’ in 2005, Palanganda won the ‘Kallichanda Cup’ in 2006, Mandepanda won the ‘Mandettira Cup’ in 2007, Anjaparavanda won the ‘Alamengada Cup’ in 2008, Nellamakkada won the ‘Mandepanda Cup’ in 2009, Palanganda won the ‘Maneyapanda Cup’ in 2010 and defended it successfully in 2011 by winning the ‘Machamada Cup’. It completed a hat-trick of wins by winning the Iychettira Cup held at Ammathi in 2012.

K. Jeevan Chinnappa

Ongoing ‘Madanda Cup-2013’ is the 17th edition