NZ ready to take on the best at World Cup Kabaddi – Meleka 2019

By Rahia Timutimu

New Zealand teams have just under a month of preparation to go until the World Cup Kabaddi – Melaka 2019, held in Malaysia.

Aotearoa will send a women's and a men's team to the event.

Women’s coach Riripeti Motu says, “This is the best lead up for a World Cup we could have asked for.  We had our first muster on the 20th of January and then trials the following month, the team was also announced in February.  Now we’re just training in preparation for the competition so all together we’ve had a lead in of eight weeks.”

This isn’t your ordinary Kabaddi tournament, the first difference is that this World Cup will be held indoors and is often described as the ‘turbo touch’ of Kabaddi due to its faster pace.

The indoor court size is also only 10 metres by 13 metres compared to the outdoor version, played on a 25 metre radius space.

“Another difference is that in the outdoor version of the game it’s one player on four, which could become a one on one game,” explains Motu, “However, indoors is seven players on seven.  The purpose of the attacker is to touch all seven players on court and for every person you touch you get a point.  Anyone can initiate attack.  A lot of our players prefer the indoor version.”

The NZ teams train twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the sides, who struggle to find an indoor training area to practice as a team.

“We train for two hours every session, we’re fortunate most of our players come from Auckland so it’s easy to come together and train,” says Motu, “However, it is hard to find a place that can cater to our needs.  We need an indoor area to train on, but because it’s more like wrestling our players sometimes leave scuff marks on the mats where we train, which can’t be helped.”

There are twelve players in both the women’s and men’s teams, who have been training at either Taumata Crossfit in Takanini or Mountford Park in Manurewa, which is an outside training venue.

The ultimate goal for this federation is to make it an Olympic sport, but the Commonwealth Games is the goal for now.

“You need 50 countries to participate in your sport to be up for an option to make the Comm Games,” explains Motu.

And they’re halfway there, at this year’s World Cup 32 countries will compete.  There will be more men’s teams than women’s with 32 men’s teams registered and 17 women’s teams.

The team will go into camp tonight and finish tomorrow afternoon and have just another two weeks with their whānau before flying to Malaysia.

The competition will be held from the 2 – 15 of April. For more information, click here

TEAM LISTS:

Women’s:

Awhina Marsh

Cori Roberts

Emmeline Croft

Jeyla Ropati

Joelene Pirini

Gloria Suddens

Kath Wharton

Leanne Gardiner

Missy Jean Elliot

Sally Kaokao

Temira Mataroa

Renee Nathan

Coach: Riripeti Motu

Men’s:

Trent Andrews

Ioane Kalepo

Emau Kaokao

Johnny Lefale

Terrence Montgomery

Logan Autagavaia

Iqbal Singh Judge

Parminder Singh

William Smith

Tiani Suiki

Lincoln Timotea

Aaron Tulafono

Coach: Manjit Singh