Traditional sports in N-E Games soon
A STAFF REPORTER
A traditional sport in progress during the recent Bihu festivities. A Telegraph picture
| Guwahati, May 22: The newly-formed Assam Traditional Sports and Dragon Boat Association claimed that efforts were being made to include some traditional sports of Assam in the North-East Games in near future.Addressing the media, regarding the proposed traditional sports carnival — Amar Khel, Amar Utsav — on Saturday, one of the founder office- bearers of the association, Subhash Basumatary, said he was making efforts to get a few disciplines included in the North-East Games, organised annually by SAI.Basumatary is also the director-in-charge of the SAI regional sub-centre, Guwahati.Boat racing, one of the most popular traditional sports, is all set to be the first from among a dozen traditional deciplines which could make it to the North-East Games.The Dragon Boat carnival, to be held here on Saturday, will include 10 other disciplines apart from boat racing at Dighalipukhuri. The field events at the carnival at Latasil ground include dhop khel, koni juj, ghila khel, malla juddha, rashi tana, tel khuta, tangon tona, kelah loi dour, tekeli bhonga and dighal thengia dour.“The idea is to conserve the traditional sports and bring them out of the remote villages to the urban areas. We hope to get co-operation from the government too in organising the event. So far, the tourism department, the State Sports Council of Assam, the Kamrup (Metro) district administration and few others have already come forward to help us in the noble venture,” the association’s president Taher Ahmed said.
The most popular indigenous game in the state of Assam is Dhopkhel. An ancient game, it is closely related with the development of the state as such. The game requires absolute physical fitness - speed, stamina and acrobatic skills. Dhop is a seasonal game, played during the state's Spring Festival, known as Rangoli Bihu. The game really flowered under the royal patronage of the Ahoms. There are two types of Dhop, one played by men and the other by women. The game, which uses a rubber ball, is played by two teams comprising 11 players each, in an open field, 125 m in length and 80 m in breadth, with a central point in the right middle of the arena. Two lines called kai are drawn at a distance of 12 ft on each side of the point at the centre. At the four points where the kai meets the 125 m lines, four flags are planted. Similarly, four flags are planted in the four corners, known as chukor nishan. Parallel to the central point in each half of the field, is one point each, at a distance of 13'6" from the centre, and circles surrounding them known as gher. The game begins with the dhop i.e the ball being thrown in the air, by a player. If the ball does not fall in the opponent's court, it is to be thrown again. The dhop has to be caught by the opposing team, and if they fail, then the other team takes the throw. If caught, the player who takes the catch proceeds to the gher of the court, and throws it to the katoni, who stands on the other gher. If the thrower fails on either count, his team forfeits the chance of a throw at the katoni, and the guilty player is requested to deliver a high lob to the opposing team, like the lob which started the game. The opposing team thus gets a chance once more for a catch and throw, at the opponents' katoni. If the katoni is hit below the waist, it is considered a kota, and the katoni becomes a hoia or a bondha, and automatically loses his status of a ghai - a name initially used for all the players. The bondha goes over to the opposing side and tries to prevent the players of the team from catching the dhop. This move is known as aulia. If a bondha succeeds in catching the dhop in the opponents' court and can recross over to his original side without being touched by any of the opponents, he becomes a ghai, and this move is known as hora....
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