Staff Reporter

Till `60s royal families used to hold gold cup tournaments

  • Even senior citizens participate in the game
  • Rules and points are same as volleyball

    BERHAMPUR: `Dabba volleyball', a unique form of volleyball rules rural pockets in south Orissa. During winter hundreds of tournaments of this game are organised at villages in Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Koraput districts. Till now five `Dabba volleyball' tournaments have been held in the city.

    Oldest club

    Jayabardhan Dash, founder president of the Rovers' Club, one of the oldest `Dabba volleyball' clubs of the city, said it was quite different from the official form of the game which makes even 75-year-old senior citizens play it.

    In official volleyball a team is allowed three touches of the ball to get it across the net. `Tapping' and use of fingers is a major skill in volleyball. But in `Dabba volleyball' players use their joined palms to bat the ball back and forth over the net in single touches. "In Dabba volleyball it is a foul if the fingers touch the ball"" Mr Dash said. But the rules regarding court, players and points are same as volleyball.

    Royal patronage

    It enables 75-year-old Uma Shankar Sahu to take part in Dabba volleyball sessions every morning and afternoon at the Rovers' Club ground.

    Prakash Sahu, a retired superintendent of police, who also plays the game, said this was game that can keep away the aging process as it enables seniors to play along with the young generation.

    Till the 60s the royal families of Shergarh and Khallikote of Ganjam district used to hold gold cup tournaments of the game in which teams from south Orissa and adjoining AP used to participate.

    Mr. Dash says its name is derived from the `dub-dub' sound the ball makes when it is hit. During the British era, schoolteachers had transformed volleyball to this form in rural areas. They used to have tournaments during their winter vacation. The tradition continues. Every winter `Dabba volleyball' tournaments enliven rural life in south Orissa.