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When Pickleball from West met the tradition in East- all for the growth of this game

It was the occasion of New Year in Mumbai- Gudi Padwa, the auspicious beginning of the year celebrated throughout Maharashtra. The commercial capital of India, on this day, highlighted a complete different mood of the citizens, who are otherwise workloaded and busy. The streets and lanes of Mumbai, draped in tradition, propagated the custom and culture at their best. 

In traditional wears and dresses, people thronged on the streets to join in the revelries. The Ville Parle area, which is a strong cultural base of Mumbai, had a 5-km procession lined up with the theme ‘Urja’-meaning Energy. Besides folklores and traditional music and dance, the organisers belonging to the NGO, Janseva Samiti, invited several sportsperson in the event. Keeping in sync with the theme, the sportsperson representing Mallakhamb, Lazim, Gymnastics and Pickleball showcased their respective sports in front of around 2,000 strong crowd.

Of all the sports, Pickleball is the newest and least-heard among the people. The All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), represented by around 12 sportsmen, encouraged nearly 60 citizens to play and know about Pickleball. The game that is a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis, with its sheer charm and fun, attracted people to get a hands-on experience.

At every intersection, the citizens were encouraged to hold the paddle and hit the ball across a portable net. Some held it reluctantly, some did it out of curiosity while some others responded enthusiastically. But there was one thing that was common-everyone had a fun-filled feeling that, at least, helped the name of Pickleball to reach them. 

At the end of the parade, international Pickleball player Manish Rao, was felicitated by the local people headed by Sunil Deodhar, Parag Alwani and Jyoti Alwani. 

A new sport like Pickleball, that is gradually picking up in this country, needs this type of initiative for its spread. Locality-based evolution is the key as that will help in spreading the game to the corners and get into the mind of the people.

About Poulomi Kundu

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