It was a day for the underdogs as Brisbane Kabbadi Club triumphed over Singh Sabha Sports Club (SSSC) by half a point in a thriller at the third annual Brimbank Kabbadi and Indian Cultural Festival at Errington Reserve, St Albans on Sunday, 16 March 16.
The annual festival brings together the Punjabi community from across Melbourne and interstate from Sydney and Brisbane to play the traditional Indian sport of Kabbadi and celebrate north Indian culture.
The teams competing were Melbourne clubs SSSC, Yuwa Kranti, Azad & Youn Kabbadi Clubs, Brisbane was represented by Brisbane Kabbadi Club and Brisbane Sports Club and Sydney was represented by Dashmesh Sports Club.
The 4,500 strong crowd witnessed some intense Kabbadi with host and favourites SSSC looking to defend its title but lost 40.5 to 40 in the final to a determined Brisbane team led by captain Lad Johal, who said, “What an amazing final and I can’t believe we won this tournament over the always strong SSSC. Thanks to the organisers and sponsors for making us feel so welcome.”
The tournament’s Most Valuable Player was Sony Kaunke from SSSC, who said, “I congratulate Brisbane on their victory in such a tight game in a great atmosphere. We look forward to next year.”
The Kabbadi event was MC’d by Charnamat Singh and Ranjit Khaira, who kept the crowd in good humour whilst providing expert commentary on the Kabbadi action.
The festival crowd was entertained by some joyous bhangra, traditional music and poetry from Babal Rai, Jassi Gil & Dadhi Jatha. Food was catered by volunteers from the Craigieburn Sikh temple whilst community children were immersed in activities including facepainting, trackless train, jumping castle and sports clinics run by Melbourne Victory and Essendon Football Club.
The event was also popular with the Punjabi movie industry with stars in attendance including Raj Kakra.
President of Craigieburn Gurudwara, Kulwant Singh was present at the event, which was officially opened by Federal MP for Calwell, Maria Mamvakiniou and closed by the Commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Mr Chin Tan.
Dignitaries attended from a number of organisations including the Indian Consulate of Melbourne, the State government of Victoria, Brimbank Council, Victoria Police, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
SSSC Secretary General Ajit Singh said, “What a thrilling finale to another great event and congratulations to Brisbane Kabbadi Club who showed great heart to win. A special thank you to our volunteers, Brimbank Council, all of our sponsors and we were thrilled to launch SSSC’s new partnership with Moneygram at the event.”
Moneygram marketing manager Melanie Allan said, “This was our first Kabbadi event and what a way to launch our new partnership with a big crowd on a beautiful day. The Punjabi community is among our biggest customers and this partnership is our way of saying thanks.”
Established in 1994, SSSC is one of the oldest Indian sporting clubs in Australia. SSSC has contributed enormously towards helping the Punjabi community to better integrate into Australian sport and culture while still maintaining traditional and cultural values.