It is a team sport, which requires both skill and power, and combines the characteristics of wrestling and rugby. It was originally meant to develop self-defense, in addition to responses to attack and reflexes of counter attack by individuals.

Kabaddi (sometimes written Kabbadi or Kabadi) is a team sport originally from the Indian subcontinent. Though kabaddi is primarily an Indian game, it has become popular throughout South Asia, and has also spread to Southeast Asia, Japan and Iran.

Two teams occupy opposite halves of a field and take turns sending a “raider” into the other half, in order to win points by tagging or wrestling members of the opposing team; the raider then tries to return to his own half, holding his breath during the whole raid.It is a rather simple and inexpensive game, and neither requires a massive playing area, nor any expensive equipment. This explains the popularity of the game in rural India.

A Team Sport

Though there are slight variations from county to country, there are general rules about this sport. In Kabaddi, two teams compete with each other for higher scores, by touching or capturing the players of the opponent team. Each team consists of 12 players, of which seven are on court at a time, and five in reserve. The two teams fight for higher scores, alternating defense and offense. The court is as large as that for a dodge ball game. The game consists of two 20-minute halves, with a break of five minutes for change of sides. The kabaddi playing area is 12.50m x 10m, divided by a line into two halves. The side winning the toss sends a ?raider?, who enters the opponents? court chanting, ?kabaddi-kabaddi?.

Hold Me, Hold Breath

The raider?s aim is to touch any or all players on the opposing side, and return to his court in one breath. The person, whom the raider touches, will then be out. The aim of the opposing team will be to hold the raider, and stop him from returning to his own court, until he takes another breath. If the raider cannot return to his court in the same breath while chanting ?kabaddi?, he will be declared out. Each team alternates in sending a player into the opponents? court. If a player goes out of the boundary line during the course of the play, or if any part of his body touches the ground outside the boundary, he will be out, except during a struggle.

The History

The first World Kabaddi Championship in the history of the game, was organized in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where the teams from India, Pakistan, Canada, England, and the United States competed.

In kabaddi dominated countries such as India and Canada, it is played on a professional basis with top players earning $25,000 and more for a 2 month season. The player who has made most out of the game is Balwinder Phiddu, who started playing in 1975 and only recently retired after the 1997 World Cup.

The game is also played in the tournaments by the Indian community in Norway. They officialy held a tournament in Oslo in 2008.

Sources: Official web site of International Kabaddi Federation, Wikipedia, www.

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