The Singhu border on the outskirts of Delhi, which has been a protest site for farmers for over a month, turned into a kabaddi ground for a women’s tournament on Sunday with rains not dampening the spirit. A total of 12 women teams participated in the tournament, which started around 11 am.
Sukhwinder Singh (55), joint Secretary of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee Punjab, who hails from Tarn Taran district of Punjab, said the women themselves came forward to participate in the tournament. “Teams from different states have come forward and asked us that they want to organise a kabaddi tournament. We have planned different activities for each day to keep people engaged at Singhu border,” he said.
The winning team will get Rs 2,100 and the runner up Rs 1,100. The prize has been announced by people who have donated the amount, Sukhwinder said. On Sunday morning, heavy rains lashed parts of the national capital leading to waterlogging at various places and also affecting the protest sites. However, the tournament was not affected by the rains.
Jagbir Singh from Jind district of Haryana and head coach at the tournament said the majority of players are college students. “The teams from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have participated in the tournament. We all have come here to support the farmers. The tournament will be concluded today only. There are also some national and international players,” he said.
The farmers, who have been camping at the site, cheered for the players as the tournament was on. “I have played at the state as well the national level from Delhi. The match was good though we could not win it and made to another round. My family was very supportive and they allowed me play the match here,” Ritika Dalal, one of the players, said.
The matches were being played on the temporary turf. Narender Kumar, a kabaddi coach from Rohatk, said that he received a message regarding the tournament on WhatsApp.
“I received a message on WhatsApp yesterday regarding the matches. It was mentioned that the only girls will play, following which I took my team of 10 girls, including my twin daughters, and reached here this morning. It is a knockout tournament and you have to win each and every match. My team lost by two points but they performed really well,” Kumar said. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Delhi’s neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana, have stayed put at the national capital’s border points since late November to protest against the new farm laws.