Kabaddi as a sport is immensely popular in India. After cricket it is the most watched televised sport of our nation. The fervor of the game is such that not only players, but the women kabaddi officials are also getting quite an appreciation for their work. Over the years Pro Kabaddi League has mightily pushed the envelope for female officials to manage the games, and they doing it with panache.
Kabaddi is a sport which is growing in popularity with every season of Pro Kabaddi League. The league has made it possible for the ancient Indian sport to become more accessible to the general population. It has reached every nook and corner of the country, where many would have thought it could not. Schools and colleges are now engaging and encouraging their students to take up the sport leading to a large number of aspiring male and female kabaddi players in India.
Even though one can evidently see that it’s only the men who currently play in Pro Kabaddi, but there are inspirational female figures around the court. They are they wonderful Women Kabaddi officials.
Let’s take a look at a few of these women kabaddi officials who have made their mark
Women Kabaddi Officials – Jamuna Venketesh
Being a former kabaddi player herself, Jamuna Venketesh recognizes the importance of each and every point in the game. She has been associated with Pro Kabaddi right from the first season and proudly talks about her impressive decision-making skills which came to the fore through the league.
“I was a kabaddi player before becoming a referee. My husband and my daughter are also kabaddi players. So, after I finished playing an interest in referring matches began for me. My husband really supported me in this, he was a police officer. I also got a job in the police department but instead I chose to stay associated with kabaddi,” she said.
Venketesh is proud of her association with the PKL having been a part of it since its inaugural season.
“I have been here from the first season and I feel that I have never let anyone down with my decisions. I think I can give my best now also as always. I will always try to give my 100 percent in every match that I officiate,” she said.
Speaking about how she handles the pressure of delivering accurate decisions, Venketesh elaborated that, “There is no particular pressure as such, whichever match I get I will officiate but the decision should always be accurate. We have to be focused because if we give any wrong decisions, then the teams can lose or win when they shouldn’t. Every point matters in the game. If I see or feel that there is a point then I will definitely give it, if I do not see the point then I will not give it. The referees have to take their time before making any decisions.”
She also urged that families must support young girls as they look to follow their kabaddi dream.
“I always had the support of my family and because of it I could relax. If all family members support women’s kabaddi, then only the value of women in kabaddi will increase. There is a slow growth in women’s kabaddi but in the future it will be on a par with men’s kabaddi,” concluded one of India’s most energetic women kabaddi officials Jamuna Venketesh.
Women Kabaddi Officials – Sasmita Das
Sasmita Das first rose to the occasion when as a state level high jumper. But, as fate would have it, the high-octane world of kabaddi soon caught Sasmita Das’ fancy. She was the referee in many national and international kabaddi events before finally being picked to be a part of Pro Kabaddi in Season 2 as one of the many women kabaddi officials. Her ability to think on her feet even saw her officiating at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in Ahmedabad.
“I am fortunate to be part of a sport like kabaddi which is witnessing a revolution,” Das told the Times of India, “Being in a competitive league such as Pro Kabaddi gives me a huge high. Kabaddi is a sport where a referee has to be on her toes all the time as things happen quickly.”
Her association with kabaddi started only in 2011, when she gave the referee exam as advised by kabaddi coach Nita Mohanty and actively started understanding the sport. As a former athlete participating in high jump and kho-kho, Das was well acquainted with the sporting arena.
“I made a name for myself as a state level high jumper, but I have also gone on to enjoy my time as a kabaddi referee,” said Das.
Another feather in the Odisha born referee’s cap came in 2016 when she was among the four women kabaddi officials chosen to be a part of the 13-member Indian squad officiating at the Kabaddi World Cup.
“It was a proud moment for me to be officiating at the World Cup in India last year. The reception I received when I came back home was just wonderful. The entire world’s focus was on India and our nation winning the tournament was the icing on the cake,” concluded Sasmita Das.
Women Kabaddi Officials – Mythreyee Rao
Official Mythreyee Rao is the part of the technical department which supports the players on the mat, the referees. However, her work is critical since she keeps the scores and ensures the match referees can focus on the task at hand without having to worry about a number of back end tasks.
“I basically do the reports of kabaddi. The score which is projected on the giant screen is done by the technical department. We have an electronic scorer. We also have manual scoring which is done by one of the referees. Then we have a third raid person as well who keeps a track of the do-or-die raids. One person keeps the track of the raiding time because each raid is of thirty seconds. So, we stop the time if there is a time-out and all that,” Rao said.
She further adds that, “I do the starting line-ups which we receive from the team manager one hour before the match so we come to know who is in the starting seven, which then goes to all the sections like the public, the press, the announcers and everyone else. So, everybody knows what the starting seven is. Then bring out the score sheets, get the third raid chart and after the match I compile the scores and send it to the various departments.”
Expanding on the challenges which both they and referees face to keep abreast of the action, Rao elaborates, “The referee has to have eyes on the back of his or her head as well because a referee is the one who has to be everywhere at the same time. Especially in the Pro Kabaddi League a referee has a very tough time because their scope of movement is limited due to camera placement. He or she has a limited area to move and it’s a very fast game so that’s why there are two helpers for the referee. There are two umpires on the either side of the mat.”
Rao was quick to laud the role of Star Sports (the broadcasters) and Mashal Sports (organizers of PKL) when she talked about the exponential growth the game has seen since the inception of Pro Kabaddi.
“India have been champions from the time kabaddi started but we were not in the limelight like cricket is. Pro Kabaddi brought the sport to the living rooms of people. Everyone now watches kabaddi, there is no age group which doesn’t watch kabaddi. People are so excited for Pro Kabaddi that you will find the streets empty after 8 pm. All thanks to Star Sports and Mashal Sports,” she said.
She further went on to elaborate on the massive sense of pride she now feels at the reception afforded to kabaddi players these days.
“People at one time were not comfortable saying that I am a kabaddi player because it was once considered a rural game. But because of Pro Kabaddi the players are really confident to say that I’m a kabaddi player. Earlier there was not much fan following for kabaddi even when the national team had won so many gold medals in the Asian Games, but now after Pro Kabaddi everyone knows the players and they go crazy when they see the players at airports or wherever. So, it really is a proud moment. I’m glad that I could see this,” Rao said.
When asked about the involvement of women in kabaddi and if they face any specific challenges, Rao opined: “Women have been playing kabaddi for a long time. They have also won a lot of gold medals at the Asian level. We have a close rivalry with the Iran’s women kabaddi team. I hope that women’s Pro Kabaddi also comes about in time. There is no challenge except the ground measurements because the ground measurements are different for men and women. Other than that, there is no challenge,” she concluded.
Women Kabaddi Officials: KreedOn Opines
All these great female kabaddi officials in true sense are the wonder woman of India’s second biggest sports league. They are not just breaking the gender barriers, but are single handedly promoting women empowerment in a male dominated sports industry. KreedOn, through our digital platform will time and again promote such people who are selflessly doing something positive to develop a sports culture in our country.
The information in the story is provided by https://www.prokabaddi.com.