Knowing the ropes of tug-of-war

Fadhil Yunus

Traditional sports are viewed as a symbol of culture and an efficient channel for conveying the diversity of society and cultural values.

They have an impact on people’s lives and help build physical fitness among players.

Nevertheless, during these technology-focussed times, the inventions of video games, computer-based applications, smart devices and tablets, traditional sports are sometimes easily forgotten.

In addition, games that are popularised through advanced equipment can be played individually or with an online partner. Some children are not even interested to interact with the outside and prefer to be alone playing video games.

During this ever sophisticated era, one example of a traditional sport which is still found closely at the heart of society is tug-of-war, which pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.

As a popular pastime rich in cultural history and tradition, the traditional sport also has a place in the community, regardless of age and race.

The Malay word ‘Tarik’ refers as pull while ‘Kalat’ is a type of rope used during a match, hence the Malay name of the sport, ‘Tarik Kalat’

Tug-of-war remains popular today and is commonly contested in conjunction with the birth anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The competition also provides an opportunity for youths as well as experienced veterans to showcase their strength.

The Malay word Tarik refers as pull while Kalat is a type of rope used during a match, hence the Malay name of the sport, Tarik Kalat.

The rope measures approximately 231-feet in length with a diameter of four, six or seven inches. For matches at a national level in the country, the rope measures six or seven inches.

Meanwhile, the rope that will be used will be marked in the middle with one line.

A tug-of-war match involves two teams comprising eight players from each team. Each team must pull a rope towards the opposing team and the team which pulls the rope to the marked line wins.

Most importantly, a game of tug-of-war does not only associate with strength but also promotes camaraderie and goodwill among the community of players.

These values need to be preserved and must be continued for future generations as it is a legacy that has been passed on for generations from our ancestors.

To an extent, the sport of tug-of-war is held not only to foster closer relations among the residents and citizens in the country but also to strengthen the bond with neighbouring countries.

In this regard, the event should be continued as a platform towards further strengthening friendship which has long enjoyed and established among the people of Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.

As people are entering the information technology (IT) age, traditional sports are fast losing their popularity. Therefore, an approach is necessary to glorify the art of traditional sports in the country. This is why it is important, so that the essence of traditional sports will not be lost among people especially as they inherit it from their ancestors.

At club level, local club EWC featured in the international circuit having competed in the Putrajaya-Kuala Lumpur 2019 International Tug-of-War Club Championships last year.

Another notable team is Chain Block, which has won numerous accomplishments at national level.