Kabaddi is a popular contact sport in Southern Asia that first originated in Ancient India. It is played across the country and is the official game in the states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana and Maharashtra. Outside of India it is a popular activity in Iran, is the national game of Bangladesh and is also one of the national sports of Nepal where it is taught in all state schools. Kabaddi is also popular in other parts of the world where there are Indian and Pakistani communities such as in the United Kingdom where the sport is governed by the England Kabaddi Federation UK.
How the Kabaddi game is played?
- Each team shall consist of no more than 12 players with only 7 taking to the field at any one time.
- Because of the physical nature of Kabaddi, matches are categorized in age and weight categories.
- There are six officials looking after each Kabaddi match. The officials comprise of a referee, a scorer, two assistant scorers and two umpires.
- The duration of the match is two halves of 20 minutes with a half time break of 5 minutes.
- At the start of a Kabaddi match, there is a coin toss with the winner having the choice as to whether to have the first raid or not. In the second half of the match, the team that did not raid first shall begin the second half with a raid.
- To win a point when raiding, the raider must take a breath and run into the opposition’s half and tag one or more members of the opposing team and then return to their own half of the pitch before inhaling again.
- To prove that another breath hasn’t been taken, the rider must continue to repeatedly yell the word ‘Kabaddi’. Failure to do this, even for just a moment means that the rider must return to their own side of the court without points and the opposite team is awarded a point for a successful defense play.
- The team being raided is defending, and the players must prevent the raiders from tagging them and returning back over the halfway line. Whilst in defence, a team may score a point by successfully preventing the raider returning to their own half after tagging them. Raiders may only be grabbed by their limbs or torso, not by their hair, clothes or anywhere else, and defenders are not permitted to cross the centre line.
- Each team will take turns in raiding and defending. Following halftime, the two teams switch sides of the court and the team who defended first in the first half begin the second half by raiding.
- The game continues in this way until the time is up, the team with the most points at the end of the match is declared the winner.
The Government has initiated the following awards for the game: Arjuna Award, Eklavya Award for men, Rani Laxmi Bai award for women, Veer Abhimanyu award for boys under 18, and Janaki award for girls under 16.