Kabaddi – Get Familiar With the Game

The game of Kabbadi is mostly popular in the countries of the Indian sub-continent and it has gained some amount of favour in many other countries as well. Basically a team game of opposition involving attack and defence, the main advantage of Kabaddi is that it requires absolutely no set-up or elaborate paraphernalia apart from two teams and a play area. It is both a game of skill and of power and the most common sport in rural India and Bangladesh. Incidentally, Kabaddi happens to be the national sport of Bangladesh.

There is no universally accepted theory about the origins of the game. Some say that it dates back more that four thousand years and is derived from the hunting instincts of men before the beginning of civilisation. There is another popular belief that Kabaddi originated in Tamil Nadu from the simple chase of young boys with candy as the objective. There are other theories that relate the game to the ‘Chakravyuh’ episode in the epic ‘The Mahabharata’ in which Abhimanyu was surrounded by a group of enemy warriors. Primarily a game of raid and opposition, it may be assumed therefore that the part about holding the breath is a later attempt at adding interest to the game by making it more challenging. The game has a number of names in India – Kabaddi (Tamil), Sadugudu (Tamil), Gudugudu (Tamil), Palinjadugudu (Tamil) and Sadugoodatthi (Tamil). In Bangladesh and in West Bengal, the original version is still called ‘Ha- du-du’ in some parts.

The game of Kabaddi, as it is played in tournaments, includes two teams of seven players each with five players in the bench of each team. It is a forty minute game, played in two halves and involves a side change after half-time. A raider is sent to the opponent side during attack. The aim of the raider is to ‘tag’ (touch) an opponent player and return to his own side without being ‘caught’. The aim of the opposition is simply that- to trap the raider and not let him return in the same breath. The defenders have to form a chain and if that chain is broken, one of their players are sent off the field. The raider has to hold his breath during attack and chant ‘Kabaddi, Kabaddi’ audibly as a proof. If he loses his breath before returning to his team, he is sent off. Each time a player is out the opposing team earns a point. A team scores a bonus of two points, called a lona, if the entire opposing team is declared out. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.

The different forms of Kabaddi are Surjeevani, Amar and Gaminee with variations in rules. The Kabaddi Federation of India follows the format and regulations of Surjeevani.

Kabaddi going international watchkabaddi.com

· 1936 – Demonstrated at the Berlin Olympics
· 1950 – The All India Kabaddi Federation
· 1973 – The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India
· 1979 – Introduced and popularised in Japan
· 1980 – Asian Kabaddi Championship
· 1990 – Included in the Bejing Asian games

Interestingly, though the game happened to be more popular in South and East India, Punjab has played a vital role in its worldwide fame. The first World Kabaddi Championship was held in Hamilton, Canada, when 14,000 people at the Copps Coliseum watched top players from India, Pakistan, Canada, England and the United States. The first all-kabaddi stadium was in Surrey, British Columbia.

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