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Kabaddi is a contact sport that originated in Ancient india. Kabaddi is an umbrella term which encompasses various forms of the game including International rules Kabaddi, and the Indian Kabaddi styles – Sanjeevani, Gaminee, Amar and Punjabi.[1][2][2][3] Kabaddi also encompasses similar sports known by their regional names, such as hadudu in Bangladesh, baibalaa in Maldives, chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh, sadugudu in Tamil Nadu and hututu in Maharashtra.[4]

Kabaddi is the national game of Bangladesh and also the state game of the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab.[5] India is the most successful team on the world stage, having won every World Cup and Asian Games title so far, in both men's and women's categories.


There is no consensus as to the origins of the word Kabaddi. The word Kabaddi might have been derived from the Tamil word "kai-pidi" (கைபிடி) meaning "to hold hands".[6][7] However, the word might have been prevalent in North India.[8] The word kabaddi is derived from 'kab' mean thigh and 'haddi" mean bone .kab-haddi it is about the strength in thighs and body which is shown on ground.[citation needed]


Women playing Kabaddi in Tamil Nadu

Kabaddi originated in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where it is derived from group hunting and village defense.[9][10][11][12] Other forms of Kabbadi originated in northern parts of India.[13][14][15] Although the game is a traditional sport in various parts of South Asia, the modern standardized version identifies kabaddi with Maharashtra where the process of standardizing the rules of kabaddi took place during 1915 through to the 1920s.[16][17][18][19] Though variations emerged and rules were framed, the game’s principal objective remained unchanged.[20]

Modern Kabaddi is therefore a synthesis of the game played in various forms under different names.[21] Kabaddi received international exposure during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, demonstrated by India. The game was introduced in the Indian National Games at Calcutta in 1938. In 1950 the All India Kabaddi Federation (AIKF) came into existence and framed the rules. The AIKF was reconstituted as The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) in 1972 and the first national tournament for men was held in Chennai.[22]

Kabaddi was introduced to and popularized in Japan in 1979 by Sundar Ram of India, who toured Japan on behalf of Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation for two months to introduce the game.[23] In 1979, matches between Bangladesh and India were held across India. The first Asian Kabaddi Championship was held in 1980 and India emerged as champion beating Bangladesh. The other teams in the tournament were Nepal, Malaysia, and Japan. The game was included for the first time in the Asian Games in Beijing in 1990 where seven teams took part.


The earliest form of the game may have originated during the ancient times in Ancient India, including speculations from the Indian epic Mahabharata. For many years, kabaddi was practiced in Indian Vedic schools with earliest references found in writings by Tukaram pointing that Lord Krishna played kabbadi as a boy.[24]



A kabaddi court

In the international team version of kabaddi, two teams of seven members each occupy opposite halves of a field of 10 m × 13 m in case of men and 8 m × 12 m in case of women.[25] Each has three supplementary players held in reserve. The game is played with 20-minute halves and a five-minute halftime break during which the teams exchange sides.

The teams take turns sending a "raider" into the other half. To win a point, the raider must take a breath, run into the opposing half, tag one or more members of the opposite team, then return to his home half before inhaling again.[26] The raider will chant "kabaddi, kabaddi" with his exhaling breath to show the referee he has not inhaled.[26] The raider will be declared "out" and will not gain the point if he inhales before returning to his side, or returns without touching an opponent.[26] The tagged defender(s) will be "out" if they do not succeed in catching the raider who tagged them.[26] Wrestling the raider to the ground can prevent him escaping before he needs to inhale.[26]

Defenders may not cross the center line (the "lobby") of the field and the raider may not cross the boundary lines. However, there is one bonus line which can grant extra points for the raider if he manages to touch it and return successfully. Players who are out are temporarily sent off the field. Each time a player is out, the opposing team earns a point. A team scores a bonus of three 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. Matches are categorized based on age and weight. Six officials supervise a match: one referee, two umpires, a scorer and two assistant scorers.


Circle Kabaddi

These are four major forms of Kabaddi played in India which are recognized by the amateur federation. In Sanjeevani kabaddi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out – one out. The game is played over 40 minutes with a 5-minute break between halves. There are 7 players on each side and the team that outs all the players on the opponent's side scores four extra points. In Gaminee style, seven players play on either side and a player put out has to remain out until all his team members are out. The team that is successful in ousting all the players of the opponent's side secures a point. The game continues until five or seven such points are secured and has no fixed time duration. Amar style resembles the Sanjeevani form in the time frame rule. But, a player who is declared out doesn’t leave the court, but instead stays inside, and the play goes along. For every player of the opposition touched ‘out,’ a team earns a point.[27] Punjabi Kabaddi is a variation that is played on a circular pitch of a diameter of 22 meters.[2]

Notable competitions

Asian Games

Pictogram of Kabaddi

Kabaddi has been played at the Asian Games since 1990. The Indian team has won all 7 Gold medals. The next most successful team is Bangladesh, which has won 3 silver medals.

Asia Kabaddi Cup

The Asia Kabaddi Cup has been held twice in consecutive years. The Inaugural tournament was held in the year 2011 in Iran. In 2012, the Asia Kabaddi Cup was held in [Lahore Pakistan] from 1 to 5 November. In 2012 ASIA Kabaddi Cup held in Lahore, Pakistan won against India with a technical win after Indian team forfeited the match following a dispute.

Kabaddi World Cup

Kabaddi World Cup was first played in 2004, then in 2007 and then annually from 2010 onwards. A circle format is followed from 2010 World Cup onwards.[28][29] India is the unbeaten champion winning every edition held so far.

Women's World Cup

The first Women's Kabaddi World Cup was held in Patna, India in 2012. India won the championship, defeating Iran in the finals.[30] India retained the title in 2013, defeating debutants New Zealand in the finals.

Pro Kabaddi League

The Pro Kabaddi League was formed in 2014 based on the popular cricket tournament, Indian Premier League. The first edition of the tournament was held in 2014, starting on 26 July 2014, with eight franchises based at eight different cities in India, consisting of players from around the world. The teams in the competition are Jaipur Pink Panthers based at Jaipur, U Mumba based at Mumbai, Bengaluru Bulls based at Bengaluru, Dabang Delhi based at Delhi, Puneri Paltan based at Pune, Telugu Titans based at Hyderabad, Bengal Warriors based at Kolkata and Patna Pirates based at Patna. The broadcast rights were purchased by the Star Sports Network.

UK Kabaddi Cup

Kabaddi received major recognition in the United Kingdom during the 2013 UK Kabaddi Cup. It featured the national Kabaddi teams from India, England, Pakistan, USA, Canada and a local club team sponsored by SGPC. The UK Kabaddi Cup hosts the Punjab Circle Style of Kabaddi.

World Kabaddi League

World Kabaddi League was formed in 2014.[31] The league includes eight teams from four countries – Canada, England, Pakistan & USA – and plays the Punjabi Circle Style of Kabaddi.[32][32] Some of the teams are owned or part owned by actors – Akshay Kumar (Khalsa Warriors), Rajat Bedi (Punjab Thunder), Sonakshi Sinha (United Singhs) and Yo Yo Honey Singh (Yo Yo Tigers). The inaugural league season was played from August 2014 to December 2014.[33] United Singhs (Birmingham, England) won the finals defeating Khalsa Warriors (London, England) in the first season.[34][35]


Kabaddi is a popular sport in South Asia. The Kabaddi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, and it compiled a standard set of rules. The governing body for kabaddi in Pakistan is Pakistan Kabaddi Federation. In Bangladesh, a variation of kabaddi called Ha-Du-Du is popular. Ha-Du-Du has no definite rules and is played with different rules in different areas. Kabaddi is the National Game of Bangladesh and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of Bangladesh was formed in 1973. Kabaddi-like games are common in certain rural regions of Iran and in these areas it is a popular game for children and adults. In some areas – especially in the center of Iranian plateau, Khorasan and Mazandaran Kabaddi is known as Zu/Zou (Persian: زو‎‎), in Gilan as Do-Do (Persian: دودو‎‎), in Khuzestan as Ti-Ti (Persian: تی‌تی‎‎) and in Sistan and Baluchestan as Kabaddi/Kabedi/Kavedi/Kaveddi/Kavaddi (Persian: کودّی، کبدی‎‎).[36] In Iran, the Community of Kabaddi was formed in 1996, in same year they joined the Asian Kabaddi Federation and in 2001 they joined the International Kabaddi Federation. The Iran Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed in 2004.

Kabbadi is one of the national sports of Nepal. Kabbadi is played and taught at a very early age in most primary schools beginning in the third grade or so in most Nepali schools. Kabbadi was also played by the British Army for fun, to keep fit and as an enticement to recruit soldiers from the British Asian community. Kabaddi was brought to the United Kingdom by Indian immigrants and Pakistani immigrants. The governing body for kabaddi in the United Kingdom is the England Kabaddi Federation UK.

In popular culture

Films depicting Kabaddi
Anime depicting Kabaddi

See also


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  5. Gofran Faroqi (2012). "Kabadihear". In Sirajul Islam and Ahmed A. Jamal. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  36. محمد تهامی نژاد. "کَوَدّی کَوَدّی یا کَبَدی کَبَدی ؟ | انسان‌شناسی و فرهنگ". Anthropology.ir. Retrieved 17 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links