Now officially a sport, Langdi takes giant leap

Confined to backyards for years and a favourite pastime of bored kids during vacations, langdi has taken its first step towards becoming a serious sport.

The game, where you try to catch a bunch of players while hopping on one leg, now has a registered national body — the Langdi Association of India (LAI) — and the second week of 2010 will see a state-level tournament in Murad, Maharashtra followed by an inaugural all-India meet in Nanded.

The founder members say they had to overcome many obstacles and endure the ridicule of the skeptics to make it possible. They're gearing themselves up for more.

"A friend of mine gave me an amused look and said that I had gone mad," recalls LAI secretary Suresh Gandhi of the time when he first mooted the idea of setting up an association. "I became a butt of jokes as he suggested that I should also start hide-and-seek or even chor-sipahi associations."

The 54-year-old Gandhi is not an isolated case, almost everyone striving for langdi to be taken seriously has a funny story to tell.

One of the first practitioners of the sport in its serious avatar, Varsha Kumawat, a final year B.Com student at RKT College, says: "The other day I told my class mates that I had to go for langdi practice and it became a joke. They called it juvenile, but I guess it was in good humour. I think very soon they will join me," says the 21-year-old Kumawat.

Past successes

Gandhi points out that this is not the first time a sport is facing such a reaction. A few decades back, he says, he had played a role in kho-kho going out from rural Maharashtra and becoming a popular sport in schools across the country.

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