Liverpool fans play part in getting Malaysia’s kabaddi team to recent Asian Games

Kabaddi and Liverpool. You would probably not find an unlikelier pair anywhere in the world.

But it was through the efforts of the Official Liverpool Supporters Club in Malaysia, KL Kopites, that Malaysia’s kabaddi team got to compete at the just-concluded Asian Games.

Although it did not win a medal, the team improved by leaps and bounds in Hangzhou, China. It even defeated 2018 silver medallists South Korea 40-38, to finish fifth. Malaysia was last in 2018.

KL Kopites president Sashidaran Nair said the club was not just a place for Liverpool fans to gather.

Where possible, members also contribute to society, as evident two years ago when it raised RM40,000 for 60 residents in Puchong.

As such, when Sashidaran read that the kabaddi team would not be able to make the trip to the Asian Games as it was short of RM35,000, he sprang into action.

“I made a few phone calls and managed to get in touch with the national kabaddi assistant coach (Arul Prakash Balakrishnan),” said Sashidaran.

“He explained that the team had received some funding from the government, but it was not enough to cover their costs.

“The players – mostly juniors – as the senior players could not get time off work – and officials had already chipped in their money, and were at their wits’ end.”

The team needed to raise the cash within 48 hours or lose their flight tickets. Sashidaran immediately pledged RM10,000 from KL Kopites’ coffers.

He then started calling in favours and sending WhatsApp messages to friends, sponsors, and fellow Liverpool fans.

“The team’s story touched the hearts of many, and they quickly raised the remainder of the amount,” said Sashidaran.

“It did not matter that Arul was a Manchester United supporter!” he joked.

“Everyone wanted to help. They raised the balance within the timeframe, and the players received their tickets.”

Before leaving for Hangzhou, the team invited the club to the flag handing-off ceremony at Wisma OCM in Kuala Lumpur.

“I felt honoured that they wanted KL Kopites to be present. It was a proud moment for me as president, and for the club,” said Sashidaran.

“I watched their matches on television and saw their fighting spirit. It proved that we were right to help them.

“The players also had KL Kopites’ across their training kit. That was surreal and a bonus for us.”

Asked if the club would continue sponsoring the team in the future, Sashidaran replied: “It depends on the situation.

“This is the second time we have contributed to a sporting cause. A few years ago, we gave RM5,000 to help Malaysian ice skater Sree Abiraame.

“We will continue with our charity work like during the Covid-19 pandemic. I want KL Kopites to help more people. We will do what we can.”

Thanks to the KL Kopites, the kabaddi team know they will certainly ‘Never Walk Alone’.

DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT A CHARGER

The mobile phone has become a part of us, that you do not realise how much you depend on it – until you are cut off.

That happened last Saturday when I left home thinking I had charged my phone, and worst of all, left my charger on the dining table.

Alas, about an hour into a busy day, I realised the battery was only at 20 per cent, and the home minister and I still had half a day of chores to complete.

Worse, at one of the malls in Subang Jaya, most outlets had gone cashless – and without access to the phone, I could not use the e-wallet.

Yesterday, I left my charger in the office while on an assignment – the perils of being absent-minded (or should I say old, instead?)

CARNIVAL OF TERRORS

Citta Mall celebrates Halloween with ‘Carnival of Terrors’ on Oct 28.

There will be Halloween-themed arts and crafts, trick or treats, ghostly mascot walks, a costume competition, and several entertaining shows.

FREE MAMMOGRAM SCREENINGS

In conjunction with Pink October, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia will provide free mammogram screenings for Malaysian women aged 40 and above, until Oct 31.

For more information or to register interest, call 03-2698 7351 or WhatsApp 010-236 7351.

VODKA MARINATED STEAK

If you fancy something different, this recipe will add some kick to your next meal.

KABADDI HEROICS

For a change, instead of a music video to close out the weekly Diary, we have a clip of the national kabaddi team in action against South Korea at the Asian Games.

Until next week, stay safe.

https://youtu.be/dvZhhbrlcRo?si=ncz_bpgQKDlXvi2p

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