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Traditional Sports Making a Comeback in Nauru

Traditional Nauruan sports are huge part of Nauru's cultural celebrations throughout the year!

From the Miss Nauru competition to fishing events, there is always a lot going on.

But since the 50th anniversary for Nauru Independence Day, the traditional Nauruan sports have been another thing to get involved in.

Ray Daniel, Community Sports Development Officer in the Sports Department, says that the committee are trying to do them on every national holiday.

Each district submits teams to play the traditional sports, and they battle it out on the field to win the competitions and glory for their districts.

More and more kids have been getting involved in the traditional Nauruan sports like Karaduga, Itsibweb and Ibibo.

“We used to do it as kids, but it died out a few years back,” Ray says.

“During this government’s reign we have been trying to bring it back by doing visits to schools.”

Karaduga involves a log and two teams stand approximately five metres away. They throw sticks with a straight arm, and the sticks must hit the log and bounce off. Where the sticks land earns points. This sport is played only by men, and the competitions this year culminated in the kid’s and men’s finals.

Meanwhile, Ibibo is played by women and it described by Ray as a Nauruan version of softball. But the ball is far from soft, as it is created by wrapping a rock in pandanus leaves! To play, players throw the ball into the air and bat it with their hands. They must then run around the bases, being careful not to get “out”.

“Some of the sports were a bit too tough, but we are trying to revive the games,” Ray says.

“Since the 50th anniversary we have been playing just about every national holiday!”

It is inspiring to see unique, traditional sports making a comeback in Nauru, particularly through the younger generations. Through education about these sports, their legacy will live on.

The week brought great shows of sportsmanship and friendly competition – and we already can’t wait for next year!

Teams competing in Karaduga
Teams competing in Karaduga
The boys shake hands after the final of Karaduga.
Two lines of women in white shirts face each other ready for the final of the traditional sport Ibibo
One women hits a traditional ball with her hand in the sport of Ibibo while other players try to catch it
One women hits a traditional ball with her hand in the sport of Ibibo while other players try to catch it


Posted by Nauru Airlines on March 02, 2019