British Army takes up Kabaddi to beat Indians

January 2nd, 2009 - 4:44 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 2 (ANI): The British Army has taken up the ancient Indian sport of kabaddi in an attempt to find a game at which they can beat the Indians.

Initially adopted as means of attracting recruits from Asian communities in Britain, Kabaddi has been such a hit, that the British Armys new team recently gave their Indian counterpart a run for its money.

Now, the British Army is engaged in an ambitious programme to master an ancient Indian sport in what appears to be a subtle attempt to strike back.

At a gymnasium in Larkhill, Wiltshire, a small squad meets to practise kabaddi, the sport of Indian princes and - according to literature - a pastime of the Buddha himself.

First introduced to these isles by Channel 4, which showed it on Sunday mornings in the early 1990s, the sport gained a small but devoted following, The Times reported.

Ashok Das, the Armys team coach, believes that his players will form the nucleus of an English national team that will challenge Indias dominance.

He made this prediction on Indian national television, during the teams debut tour, during which it narrowly lost to an Indian Army team filled with international players.

Everyone was praising them. They were worried that England will start beating India. They said to me, You are Indian, arent you ashamed to do this to your country? I said, I was Indian, now I am British. I have to pay back my country. They are not winning at football, now they will win at kabaddi, Das said.

The team was first assembled in July 2007, after Das persuaded army recruitment officers that a kabaddi team could be a powerful recruitment tool in British Asian communities, The Times reported.

Colonel Paul Farrar, deputy head of Army Recruiting, saw a really good game . . . something the British Army ought to look at seriously. It also needs no equipment, so can be played wherever troops are deployed.

Last summer, the team beat Italy. A return match will take place in Aldershot next month, while overtures have arrived from the Indian Border Security Force, to play the Army next year.

Colonel Farrar believes the momentum of the team is growing, with the Army Physical Training Corps taking an interest in its martial qualities. He recently met a soldier from India, recruited via the Armys Foreign and Commonwealth scheme, who said that the kabaddi team had convinced him to join up. (ANI)

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