By P.T. Bopanna
Pandanda Kuttappa (aged 85), who conceived the idea of ‘Kodava family hockey festival’, passed away on May 7 at Bengaluru.
Popularly known as Kuttani, he started the family hockey tournament exclusively for Kodava families (clans) in 1997, in Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka, famed as the nursery of Indian hockey.
Kuttappa, a former State Bank of India official, was conferred the Karnataka State Rajyotsava award for the year 2015. Besides promoting the game of hockey, the tournament brought together the numerically small Kodava community on a single platform.
In this unique tournament, members of various Coorg families, play one another. There is no age or gender bar for participating in the matches. On an average, over 250 families have been sending their teams for the tournament which is played in the month of April-May every year.
Kuttappa, who himself was a hockey player, organised the first tournament in his native Karada village. He was supported by his brother the late Pandanda Kashi Ponnappa, and the inaugural tournament was known as the Pandanda Cup.
The family hockey tournament has not been held in the last two years after the landslides in 2018 and due to the coronavirus this year.
Kuttappa is survived by his wife and two daughters and a son. His son-in-law, Biddatanda Pradeep, a respected politician, had passed away three years ago. The last rites of Kuttappa will be held in Bengaluru on Thursday.