New players welcome in NZ Kabaddi teams

By Rahia Timutimu

Kiwi Kabaddi players took to the field over the weekend to gain experience during the Auckland National Cup event, with a push for our national teams to advance at the upcoming world cup.

While a boost in players was seen in both women's and men's teams, most of the sport's female players are actually Māori.

Kabaddi may be a sport that originated in India, but the number of keen Māori players has grown over the years.

It's a game that is often compared to bullrush that requires no equipment, just pure strategy and skill. Skills similar to rugby, league and touch players, where Māori can excel in.

Riripeti Motu has been in the NZ women’s side since 2014 and wants to see the sport grow more.

There's been a call for more Māori to take up the challenge and they are doing just that. Former NZ touch player Conal Grant is one of many new players who have put down the ball to take part in this Indian sport.

“I wanted to try something new,” says Grant, “I wanted to try something else because I've been involved in touch for so long, like 17 years it was my life which I loved, but it’s time to give something else a go and I found something that suits the skills that I learnt in touch.

It's transferrable with the footwork and it’s a chance to do a bit of stepping. A bit of netball is involved as well so it’s been good and it’s a chance to meet new people and socialise and a chance to travel the world as well," explains Grant.