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Brampton Schools Add Kabaddi To Their Student Sports Roster

BRAMPTON  – While kabaddi has been a dominant summer sport in the Indo-Canadian community, it is now being implemented in Brampton’s schools and enjoyed by students in Ontario.

Peel District School Board Trustee, Harkirat Singh and Brampton City Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon are encouraged to see the youth getting behind this traditional sport.

“Though it was a lot of work to get kabaddi implemented in schools, it was well worth it,” said Trustee Singh. “Students thoroughly enjoyed it and it was great to see the diversity of those who participated. We only hope to grow the program from here.”

Throughout the summer, kabaddi tournaments take place all over Brampton, featuring international players, attracting thousands of fans and spectators.

“Kabaddi is an exciting sport to play and I enjoy watching the strategic moves the players make,” said Councillor Dhillon. “And it’s really great to see Brampton’s youth takes up this sport and make it popular in the City of Brampton.”

Last week, Brampton hosted North America’s first ever high school Kabaddi Festival in Peel  in which four local school participated.

Tran Tran, a Grade 10 student at Turner Fenton, has a Chinese and Vietnamese family background so kabaddi, a combination of rugby, wrestling and tag was a new sport for her, reported Brampton Guardian.

“I loved it,” she said. “I hope we can have this again.”

Her Turner Fenton team won the girls division and Tran was named as the top female stopper.  Her sister, Trinh Tran, was selected as the top female attacker.

Tran is a wrestler who finished fifth in the province in her weight category earlier this year. Many of those who took part are wrestlers but for most this was the first time participating in kabaddi festival.

Scott Christian, the coach of the Fletcher’s Meadow team which won the boys division, said when he put out the call for players about a month ago more than 20 came out with only one who had ever played a competitive game before.

“Some of them have played in their backyard,” said Christian. “We were able to get some good athletes.”

Tyrese Brissett from Fletcher’s Meadow was chosen as the top attacker in the boys division. He was taken to hospital immediately after the game because of head-to-head contact that forced him out of the final early.

Malik Reid from silver medallist Louise Arbour was named as the top stopper. This was his first time in kabaddi but he has also participated in soccer, wrestling, track and field and rugby and he said kabaddi has quickly become one of his favourite sports.

“I would rate it as second (behind soccer) “,  he said.

In kabaddi a team chooses an attacker or raider who runs to the opposing team’s line and attempts to touch the defenders and run back. The opposing team attempts to tackle the attacker to earn points.

There are a number of different rules used in kabaddi. For the high school tournament only one-on-one tackling was allowed. Other types of kabaddi do allow more than one player to tackle an attacker.

Harkirat Singh, a Peel District School Board trustee for Brampton who helped get the event going, said it was the first kabaddi schools tournament in North America and was pleased with the results.

“You can see the diversity of those playing,” he said.

With Files from Brampton Guardian

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