A district level tournament of the Fifth Rural Rejuvenation Cup was held on 4 to 5 May 2008 in Pudukaraipudur village, Gobi taluk. This two-day celebration saw people of all ages and social backgrounds avidly participating in the events. Isha volunteers organized games such as volley ball, throw ball, rural games and recreational games. The Suriampalayam team won first place in the Men’s Volleyball Tournament category, while the Women’s Throw Ball Tournament was won by the Muruganpudhur team. The Koothampalayam team won first place in the professional category. The winners will participate in the state level competitions during the Isha Gramotsavam.

The enthusiasm was tremendous among the teams who had won the preliminary rounds that more than two hundred teams from nearly three hundred villages in Gobi, Sathyamangalam, Perundurai and Tollipura (Karnataka) had participated in. Their unreserved and joyous participation proved that there is a need for such events and that people of the villages are eager to grasp such opportunities to interact with one another on a social level, and to celebrate together. The active involvement of the villagers also corroborates Action for Rural Rejuvenation’s (ARR) vision that such events can be a wonderful way to bring about positive social change, harmony and wellbeing among people.

So as to integrate women and children more into the social life of the village, events for them were given particular importance. The winner of the “Passing the Ball” contest was a sixty year old lady. Her win would surely inspire other women, young and old. Men too would begin to see women in a different light.

Adding to the celebration was the Silambattam by Shri Anjaneya Silamba Kalaikoodam and a Bharathanatyam performance by an Isha volunteer.

Experiencing the power of the games to positively impact the social fabric in rural areas has spurred ARR volunteers to organize more such events, and certainly, everyone is looking forward to the Grand Finals in September at Isha http://isha.sadhguru.org/Sports/evening-games-bullock-cart-race-throwball-field-events-rural-olympics-isha-foundation.isa.