Imphal, Mar 18 : The traditional game of wrestling hockey, a combination of two games, Mukna (wrestling) and Kong-Kangjei (Hockey), is stating a come back in Manipur with a large number of people taking interest in the game and enjoying it.
Mukna was traditionally performed in royal courts, where warriors were set against each other in a test of strength.
Across Manipur, western sports like hockey and rugby have been combinedith Mukna, to produce some unique games.
The game lovers complain of government apathy and have taken upon themselves the burden of promoting the traditional game.
"We have formed an association and have been appealing the Government to take up necessary measures to promote it. The Government has been promoting the games like Yubi Lakpi (Rugby), Kabadi and Football. So through our association, we have been asking why the Government is failing to promote our ancestral and traditional indigenous game," said N. Ramesh Singh, former player.
Players possessing good speed, stamina, strength, agility and skills of wrestling participate in the game.
"In this game we are not to play hockey alone, but we also have to wrestle with our opponents, simultaneously we also have to play the hockey and try to score the goal. And whichever team scores the highest goals is declared the winner of the game," said L. Ibotomba Singh, a player.
Wrestling hockey is played between seven players in each team. Each player equipped with a bamboo stick about 4 feet in length made in the form of modern hockey stick.
The game begins with a throw of the ball made of bamboo root in the field.
A player may carry the ball in any manner but the goal is made only by hitting the ball with his stick. There is no goal post in the game and the goal is scored when the ball crosses the goal line fully.
Players not only use their bamboo sticks to push hockey ball around the field, they also grab and throw each other as they compete on the 200 by 80 meter field.
Players of the sport called as Khong Kanjei, wear thick cloth thongs traditionally used for wrestling. As the ball travels up the field, each team can wrestle or hit with the hockey stick for control of the bamboo root ball.