HI condoles demise of Kodava Hockey Festival co-founder Pandanda Kuttappa

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Hockey India on Friday condoled the death of Pandanda Kuttappa, a legendary figure in the region of Coorg and the co-founder of the famous Kodava Hockey Festival.

Kuttappa died of old age-related problems on Thursday and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. He was 85.

Kuttappa, a retired employee of State Bank of India, was known for being the pioneer of the Kodava Hockey Festival, a family hockey tournament exclusively for the Kodava families which started in 1997. He co-founded the event along with his brother Pandanda Kashi Ponnappa. Paying rich tribute to the avid hockey fan, HI recalled his contribution to the sport and his crucial role in popularising the game in the southern region and further contributing to popularity of Coorg, the breeding ground for hockey in the country.

'We are truly saddened by the demise of Pandananda Kuttappa on 7 May 2020. We share his family's grief and pray for his soul. Kuttappa's contribution to hockey especially in the Kodava region will be remembered for generations,' HI president Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said in a statement.

'The Family Hockey Tournament not only drew thousands to the hockey pitch but it also inspired a generation of hockey stars who went on to represent India and win laurels for the country,' he added.

The Kodava Hockey Festival, interestingly, had no gender bar for participating teams and women too could play in the same team as their male counterparts.

On an average, 250 families send their teams for the tournament which is usually played in the month of April-May every year.

Kuttappa was also a Karnataka Rajyotsava Award winner, besides being a former first-division hockey umpire. PTI SSC CPS CPS