All Australian tug of war: Celebrating strength and unity by Malayali Association Cairns

By Nick Attam
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Teams of strongmen from across Australia converged in Cairns as the Malayali Association of Cairns hosted the All Australian Tug of War competition for the first time. Known as Vadamvali, this beloved sport in the subcontinent sees two teams of seven, with a combined weight of approximately 600kg, pull at either end of a sturdy rope, testing their strength, stamina, and technique amid the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd.

Under a radiant sun, the competition took place at Peace Lutheran College in Kamerunga, celebrating culture, grit, and determination. Competitors donned sticky rubber climbing shoes to ensure a firm grip on the ground before seizing the rope. Each team member strategically positioned themselves behind the last to maximise grip and leverage. A total of twelve teams participated, demonstrating remarkable teamwork and sportsmanship.

The Malayali Association Cairns, recognised for its dynamic cultural initiatives and community engagement, organised this tug of war to promote physical fitness, cultural exchange, and community bonding. “We are thrilled with the overwhelming response and participation,” said Sherjin Selvaraj, President of the Malayali Association Cairns. “This event transcends mere competition; it is about uniting people, celebrating our cultural diversity, and fostering a sense of community among all Australians.”

Teams had been training for months, refining their combinations and techniques. “It’s a true blend of strength, stamina, and technique, and it’s not always the strongest team that wins,” noted one of the organisers.

The atmosphere was electric with cheers as teams pulled with determination and strength. The grand finale, a climactic battle between the top two teams, ended with the Brisbane Red 7s triumphing over Kombans Melbourne, marking a moment of triumph celebrated by all attendees.

Complementing the tug of war competition were various family-friendly activities, including traditional Malayali games, cultural performances, and food stalls offering authentic Kerala cuisine. These activities provided a comprehensive cultural experience, allowing attendees to engage with the rich traditions and flavours of the Malayali community.

Prominent local dignitaries, including Mayor Amy Eden and several community leaders, attended the event, highlighting its significance in promoting multiculturalism and community harmony. “Events like the All Australian Tug of War are essential in strengthening the bonds within our diverse community,” remarked Mayor Amy Eden. “They underscore the positive contributions of the Malayali community to our city’s cultural landscape.”

As the day concluded, filled with laughter, camaraderie, and spirited competition, participants and spectators departed with fond memories of an extraordinary experience. The success of the All Australian Tug of War has set the stage for future editions, with the Malayali Association Cairns already planning to make it an annual tradition.

President Sherjin Selvaraj extended his gratitude on behalf of the MAC executive committee:

“Dear Friends,

On behalf of the MAC executive committee, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of the extended committee members, volunteers, and the general public who helped organise and participate in the recent ‘All Australian Tug-of-War’ event. It was an immense success, receiving appreciation from across Australia for the professional manner in which it was hosted.

Your dedication and hard work truly made this possible. Your attention to detail and commitment did not go unnoticed. Thanks to your collective efforts.

I speak for the entire community when I say that we are incredibly grateful for your contributions. Your teamwork displayed a sense of unity and pride within our community. More importantly, we are proud to provide Cairns’ tug-of-war players with a national-level stage, encouraging them to establish a team. The ‘Reef Boys’ team has tremendous potential, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Once again, thank you everyone for your exceptional work in making the National Tug-of-War Event a resounding success.

With sincere appreciation,

Sherjin Selvaraj President MAC”

The Malayali Association Cairns extends its heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, and participants who contributed to the event’s success. With a strong foundation of community support, the future of the All Australian Tug of War looks promising, with expectations of even more exciting competitions and cultural celebrations in the years to come.


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