It’s a Prince George tradition now more than 20 years in the making.
The Punjabi Sports & Cultural Event at Masich Place Stadium is in full swing this weekend, bringing together the community for fun-filled games and celebrating a diverse culture.
Hundreds of people took part in the tournament events from three-legged races, volleyball, soccer, and long jumping. However, the most notable event was Kabaddi. The traditional sport drew a big crowd around the circular field. The players are known as ‘raiders’ and ‘stoppers.’ The raiders will try to tag one of the stoppers and take off running across the centre line of the field, before they are tackled to the ground.
Gurnek Shergill has been playing for nearly 25 years and says the sport is growing strong in British Columbia. “It’s our game back home, but it’s really popular now down in the Lower Mainland and in Prince George,” he said. “We’re trying to get a lot of kids going here to get them involved.”
In fact, many kids used to play the sport in Prince George a couple decades ago, but the expenses of traveling to play internationally and nationally became too much for some families. Bally Bassi is one of the organizers for the event and she says keeping the spirit of the game alive is one of the reasons these games are put on year over year. “Prince George came together with a local cultural tournament, so not to dismiss the local cultural sport of Kabaddi, but to keep it alive,” she said. “It’s to still inspire our youth today, but also making it a family event.”
More fun activities continue Sunday at Masich Place Stadium.