Sierra Leone has become the first country in Africa to have the Kabaddi sport, the favourite and renowned game of Punjab in India.
The Sierra Leone Kabaddi Association (SLKA) was officially launched on Wednesday June 13 at the Sierra Leone weightlifting gym at the National Stadium in Freetown.
According to the SLKA acting president, Ravinder Singh Jassal - an India national who introduced the sport in the country, he was very pleased to introduce the game in Sierra Leone, the first in Africa.
"Kabaddi is the most precious game of Punjab, India and has become the game of the world in countries like USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, UK, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and more. I am proud to bring it to the continent of Africa and Sierra Leone is the first country to have it," he said.
Jassal said he has plans to spread the game across the continent and further revealed that Sierra Leone will be the base and reference point for the sport in Africa.
SLKA secretary general, Rafeek Trehhil - himself an India national, said Kabaddi is known as the game of the masses due to its popularity, simplicity and public appeal. He said the game is an outdoor competition played either on clay court or synthetic surface and does not involve any sophisticated equipments.
Trehhil further noted that the game's duration is 45 minutes for men and junior boys with a five-minute break in between for the teams to change sides.
Kabaddi is a sport in which two teams compete with each other for higher scores by touching or capturing the players of the opposing team. Each team consists of 12 players of which seven are on court at a time and five in reserve.
The two teams fight for higher scores, alternating defence and offence in a court with an area of 12.50mX10m divided by a line into two halves.