Kabaddi is one of the oldest and most popular games in India
Now you can follow the world’s strangest martial art on the Internet
Fans like to get more emotion from knockouts and knockdowns than from fighting. Kabaddi originated in ancient India. Tukaram, an Indian poet, wrote that the god Krishna also liked to play kabaddi, and Buddha was also not averse to such entertainment. And Tibetan monks welcome kabaddi, recognizing it as a means for meditation and physical strength.
In modern kabaddi match lasts 40 minutes – two halves of 20. Two teams of 12 people participate, at the beginning of the game there are seven players on the court at the same time. Athletes compete on a rectangular court 13 by 10 meters. The court is divided into two parts, there are also overlapping lines (baulk line), bonus lines (bonus line) and “lobby area” (lobby area). In adult competitions for men are allowed up to 80 kg.
The aim of the game is to score more points than their opponents. To get points, the team has to send a player, called a raider, to the other half of the court. One of the most important and strangest rules: the delegated player must cross the middle line, repeatedly repeating the word “kabaddi” – so he demonstrates to the referee that the raid is made in one breath and without breathing. You are given 30 seconds for each raid – it is not quite clear how the referee controls this process.
The raider’s task is to cross the overlap line. If he fails, he is eliminated from the site. The raider needs to touch as many opponents as possible and then return to the middle before being tackled. He can siege opponents in a variety of ways: by touching their arm or toe, by kicking them, or by releasing them from the grip. A raider gets one point for each opponent; they all drop out of the game.
Defenders must prevent the raider from returning to the middle, especially if one of them is touched. They can hold their opponent’s legs, wrap their arms around his back, and simply push him off the court. If the raider is stopped, the defending team earns one point. When a player is ejected, he sits on the bench, but can still return to the court – for each point the team can “revive” one of those who have already left the game.
The main club kabaddi tournament is the Indian Pro League. U.S. broadcast rights have been purchased by ESPN. The final of the 2021/2022 season was outstanding: Daban Delhi, the recent top seed, beat the three-time champions, Patna Pirets, in a hard-fought match.
Kabaddi also hosts international competitions, including world championships. There have been three world championships in the history of this sport – in 2004, 2007 and 2016. All three times India defeated Iran in the final, while Bangladesh, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and, unexpectedly, Canada managed to win the bronze for reaching the semifinals.
Kabaddi is incredibly popular in Asia – Bollywood is making movies about the game and anime is devoted to it. The Flashscore website has its own section dedicated to Kabaddi, next to Australian soccer.