Outdoor festival brings kabaddi, free Indian food to Topaz Park

Sikh society’s annual celebration a multi-cultural affair

Participants grapple in a game of kabaddi played at Sullivan Heights in Surrey. Members of kabaddi clubs from the lower mainland will visit Victoria this weekend to compete at the Vaishakhi Tourament at Topaz Park

To play kabbadi is to chant it.

Rarely seen in these parts, the sport of kabbadi is on display at Topaz Park this weekend. The Khalsa Diwan society’s Vaisakhi tournament and festival plans to fill the many fields between Finlayson Street and Topaz Avenue with food and games.

There’ll be plenty of sports and activities, but it’s the unique visual display of kabbadi that draws attention to Victoria’s annual Indo-Canadian celebration.

Two teams of players face each other and send a raider over to gain points by wrestling or breaking through the other team, who defend their territory by joining hands.

The word, “kabbadi, kabbadi,” is chanted by competitors.

“(Canadian Olympian) Daniel Igali used to travel and play kabaddi for money. It’s a fun sport that people enjoy playing and there is even a fair bit of money in it for the players,” said Hardip Sihota, spokesperson for the Khalsa Diwan’s sports committee. After several years of using the gym at Spectrum community school, the support for the annual festival has grown to the point the tournament is moving outside for good.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any kabaddi competitors from Greater Victoria but that could change, Sihota said.

This weekend, Indo-Canadian athletes are coming over from the mainland, including top-notch wrestlers from the elite Miri Piri wrestling club in Abbotsford.

“Vaisakhi is a traditional harvest festival in the Sikh calendar that usually happens in April. But we wait until the weather is a little warmer,” Sihota said. “We invite all the community to come and celebrate. There’s free food and lots of games and play areas for the kids.”

The food is supplied by the Indian Food Market at (Quadra and Mackenzie streets in Saanich) and prepared at the Khalsa Diwan Sikh society temple on Topaz Avenue.

Along with kabbadi, tug of war, weight and power lifting, bench press, volleyball, wrestling and soccer happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.


Just Posted

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Pipeline protestors plan march as Trudeau gives Trans Mountain the go-ahead,

20 kilometre march to protest the pipeline starts in Victoria, ends on Saanich Peninsula

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read