Kabaddi, a Traditional Indian Sport that Has Conquered the West!


Kabaddi is a very popular combat sport in India. The term comes from the word Kai-Pidi, which means “to hold hands”. It is the second most famous sport on the Indian continent after cricket. People play kabaddi, for peace and harmony. Kabbadi is a very physical team sport where strength is essential to give victory to your team. But what is it exactly?

A Breath-taking Sport

While football, basketball, Cricket are enjoying phenomenal success in the rest of the world, kabaddi enjoys great popularity in the Indian subcontinent. Concretely, it is a simple contact sport which can be likened to wrestling or rugby. However, this practice has one particularity: the player at the position of “raider” must hold his breath by constantly repeating “kabaddi” for a maximum of 30 seconds. Indeed, kabbadi is a Hindi word which literally means “to hold one’s breath”.

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Although kabaddi remains little known outside of India, it is greatly appreciated by the locals. It is the second most practiced sport in the country after cricket, a variant of baseball. If the kabaddi is presented as a typically Indian activity, its practice is gradually democratizing beyond the borders of the country. Already very popular in Bangladesh and Pakistan, the sport is slowly starting to win the hearts of the British and other countries such as Nepal and Japan which already have an international team.

In addition, more than 313 million people watched the fifth season of Vivo Pro Kabaddi in 2017, the professional kabaddi league in India. It was the most watched sporting event in India and helped popularize the country and make it personable. Many spectators on site had the opportunity to discover this sport or simply to improve their knowledge. The event was also very popular with bookmakers who bet on their favourite teams!

The Origin of Kabaddi

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This sport was presented during a demonstration match at the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. Then it was in 1950, three years after India’s independence, that the federation was created, and precise rules were laid down, established. Today, kabaddi is practiced in more than sixty countries around the world. The federation is trying to internationalize it, to democratize it. This sport is a vector of development and openness.


The Rules of Kabaddi

The practice of kabaddi is quite simple and hardly requires any equipment. Indeed, it is possible to practice it on the lawn or at the beach by simply drawing a rectangle on a flat ground. As a result, this sport is particularly popular with the small Indian people. But despite the rudimentary conditions in which this activity evolves, the kabaddi is subject to strict rules. The field is a rectangle 13 meters wide by 10 meters long, or 12 meters wide by 8 meters long for women. It divides practitioners into two camps. This sport is played by 14, and two teams of 7 players on each side.

The goal of the kabaddi is to hit as many defending players as possible without being immobilized and then return to his zone. The teams send their player called “raider” to touch, with the foot or the hand, the members of the opposing team and thus score 1 point per defensive player eliminated before returning to his camp.

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