6 June 2024

Turban tying contest, Indian stick fighting highlights as 25,000 expected for Griffith Sikh Games

| Oliver Jacques
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Kabbadi fight

Kabbadi is always the flagship event. Photo: What’s On Griffith Facebook.

A turban tying contest for audience members will take place alongside a host of uniquely Indian sports at the 26th annual Shaheedi Tournament (also called the Sikh Games), to be held at Griffith’s Ted Scobie Oval and Griffith Regional Sports Ground on Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 June.

“Every year we seem to get a ten per cent increase in attendance,” organiser Manjit Chugha said.

“Last year, around 25,000 people watched the events and every hotel within a 200-km radius of Griffith was booked out.”

Free Indian food is provided to all attendees who can watch and occasionally participate in a number of events.

Dastar competition

Men of the Sikh faith often wear a dastar on their head, which is more commonly known as a turban. On Sunday afternoon, audience members can participate in a dastar competition.

“Each participant is given a mirror and you have to tie the dastar on your head within a certain timeframe. The one that’s judged to be tied on the best wins,” Mr Chugha said.


The flagship event of every Sikh Games is an Indian sport called kabbadi, which attracts professional teams from across Australia and New Zealand.

NRL great Bryan Fletcher calls it the Indian version of rugby league. In 2016, he came to Griffith with Fox Sports colleague Nathan Hindmarsh to take part in the Kabbai finals for a segment on The Matty Johns Show.

Each team has seven players; the aim is for a single player on offence, called a raider, to run into the opposing team’s part of the field and tag out as many of their defenders as possible. When they cross onto the other team’s side, raiders repeatedly say ‘kabaddi, kabaddi’.


Gatka is a type of Indian martial arts, a form of stick fight between two competitors.

“Participants have a sword and other weapons,” Mr Chugha said.

Kho kho

Kho kho is an ancient Indian sport similar to kabbadi. Nine players from the attacking team are on the field, with eight of them crouched in the central lane, while three runners from the defending team run around the court and try to avoid being touched.

Other sports

More conventional sports like soccer, volleyball and tug-of-war will also be on display.

“We have two types of volleyball – the conventional type and also an Indian-style version, which is called shooting and smashing,” Mr Chugha said.

Sikhs symbol making

Thousands attend the Griffith Sikh Games. Photo: Griffith City Council.

General tips for attendees

Mr Chugha said regular free buses would run between the Sikh temple and the oval throughout the weekend.

“Parking inspectors will patrol the area, so don’t park illegally blocking people’s driveways or on nature strips,” he said.

While the Sikh Games is usually a peaceful event, last year there was a clash between rival ethnic groups. As a result, police on horseback and riot squad police will also patrol the area.

Most events take place at Ted Scobie Oval, kicking off Saturday morning around 9 am. The showpiece kabbadi contests will be on the Sunday.

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