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For other uses, see Kabadi (disambiguation).

Kabaddi (sometimes Kabbadi or Kabadi) is a contact sport based on wrestling that originated in early India. It is the national game of Nepal and Bangladesh,[1] and the state game of the Indian states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. The game is also played in Maldives and among the youth of Pakistan.

Kabaddi initially came from the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, became popular throughout South Asia, and has spread to Southeast Asia, Japan and Iran. It is known as hadudu in Bangladesh, baibalaa in Maldives, chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh and sadugudu in Tamil Nadu. It is played by the British Army for fun, to keep fit and as an enticement to recruit soldiers from the British Asian community.

India won the 2013 Kabaddi World Cup held at Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, Punjab, India.

Types of kabaddi[edit]


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.[2] 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.[3] The raider will chant "kabaddi, kabaddi" with his exhaling breath to show the referee he has not inhaled.[3]

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.[3] The tagged defender(s) will be "out" if they do not succeed in catching the raider who tagged them.[3] Wrestling the raider to the ground can prevent him escaping before he needs to inhale.[3]

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 two 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.


In Sanjeevani kabaddi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out – one out, one in. The duration, the number of players, dimensions of the court, etc. have been fixed by the Kabaddi Federation of India. This form of kabaddi is the closest to the present game and is also called National Style. In this form of kabaddi, players are put out and revived and the game lasts 40 minutes with a 5-minute break in between. There are nine players on each side. The team that puts out all the players on the opponent's side scores four extra points for a 'Lona'. The winning team is the one that scores most points after 40 minutes. The field is bigger in this form of kabaddi and the 'chant' different in various regions. Modern kabaddi resembles this form of kabaddi especially with regard to 'out & in system' and 'Lona'.


This is played with seven players on either side, in a field of no specific measurements. The characteristic is that a player put out has to remain out until all his team members are out. The team that is successful in putting out all the players of the opponent's side secures a point. This is akin to the present system of 'Lona'. After all the players are put out, the team is revived and the game continues. The game continues until five or seven 'Lona' are secured. This form of kabaddi has no fixed game time. The main disadvantage of the Gaminee type is that the player is not in position to give his best performance since he is likely to remain out for the better part of the match until a Lona is scored.


Circle kabaddi variant being played

In the 'Amar' form of kabaddi, whenever any player is touched (out), he does not go out of the court, but stays inside, and one point is awarded to the team that touched him. This game is also played on a time basis, i. e the time is fixed. This form of kabaddi is played in Punjab, Canada, England, New Zealand, USA, Pakistan and Australia. In the Amar form of kabaddi, each team consists of 5-6 stoppers and 4-5 raiders. At one time, only 4 stoppers are allowed to play on the field. Every time a stopper stops the raider from going back to his starting point, that stoppers team gets 1 point. on the other hand, every time the raider tags one of the stoppers and returns to his starting point, his team gets one point. At one time, only one of the stoppers can try to stop the raider. If more than one touch the raider, an automatic point is awarded to the raider's team. If the stopper is pushed out by the raider or vice versa, then the team whose member is still in the field gets a point. If both the raider and the stopper go out, the result is a common point, where nobody gets a point. There is a 30 second time limit for the raider from the moment he leaves until he returns to his starting point. This rule was only recently introduced (1994) after controversy with some raiders abusing the old system where they were able to struggle through a point until they ran out of breath from repeating the word kabaddi. It also called Circle style kabaddi. Circle style kabaddi is the more popular in the Punjabi community because of its frantic pace and the one-on-one struggle between the raider and the stopper. Therefore, it is also sometimes referred as Punjab style kabaddi.

History and development[edit]

Women playing Kabaddi/Sadugudu in Tamil Nadu

Game of Kabaddi originated in the region of Maharashtra in 16th century and in some parts of Tamil Nadu. Modern Kabaddi is a synthesis of the game played in various forms under different names.[4] Kabaddi received international exposure during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, demonstrated by Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Amaravati, Maharashtra. The game was introduced in the Indian Olympic Games at Calcutta in 1938. In 1950 the All India Kabaddi Federation came into existence and compiled standard rules. The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) was founded in 1973. After formation of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India, the first men's nationals were held in Madras (renamed Chennai), while the women's were in Calcutta (renamed Kolkata) in 1955.The AKFI has given new shape to the rules and has the right to modify them. The Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) was founded under the chairmanship of Mr. Janardan Singh Gehlot.

Kabaddi was introduced and popularised in Japan in 1979. The Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation sent Professor Sundar Ram of India to tour Japan for two months to introduce the game.

In 1979, a return test between Bangladesh and India was held at different places of India including Mumbai, Bihar, Hyderabad, and Punjab. The Asian Kabaddi Championship was arranged in 1980 and India emerged as champion and Bangladesh runner-up. Bangladesh became runner-up again in 1985 in the Asian Kabaddi Championship held in Jaipur, India. 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. India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh took part. India won the gold medal and has also won gold at the following six Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994, Bangkok in 1998, Busan in 2002, Doha in 2006 and Guangzhou in 2010.

An attempt to popularise kabaddi in Great Britain was carried out by Channel 4, who commissioned a programme dedicated to the sport. The programme, Kabaddi in the early 1990s, however, failed to capture viewer attention despite fixtures such as West Bengal Police versus the Punjab. Kabaddi was axed in 1992, but not before its presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy suffered a collapsed lung while participating in the sport.[5][better source needed] Alt-rock band The Cooper Temple Clause formed a kabaddi team in 2001 and were, at one stage, ranked seventh in the British domestic standings.[5][better source needed]

In the 1998 Asian games held at Bangkok (Thailand), the Indian Kabaddi team clinched the gold medal. The chief coach of the team was former kabaddi player and coach Flt. Lt. S P Singh. [6]

International competitions[edit]

Kabaddi World Cup[edit]

The second Kabaddi World Cup tournament was held in 2007 with India winning over Iran in the final round.[citation needed] The Punjab government organised a Circle Style 2010 Kabaddi World Cup from 3 to 12 April 2010. On 12 April 2010 Indian team emerged as the winner after beating Pakistan in the finals. The opening match of the tournament was held in Patiala while the closing ceremony took place in Ludhiana. India won the first edition of the Circle Style Kabaddi World Cup, Beating rival Pakistan in a 58–24 victory. The final of this 10-day tournament was played at Guru Nanak Stadium.[citation needed]

Pro kabaddi league[edit]

Further information: Pro Kabaddi League

Pro kabaddi league was introduced in 2014 in India based on Indian premier league. The first edition of the tournament had begun at 26 July 2014 with eight franchises based at eight different cities in India consisting of players from all over the world. The team Jaipur pink panthers based at Jaipur is owned by Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan who said he wants to promote Kabaddi. The other teams are namely U Mumba based at Mumbai, Bengaluru Bulls based at Bengaluru, Delhi Dabbangs based at Delhi, Puneri Paltans based at Pune, Telugu Titans based at Vizag, Bengal Warriors based at Kolkata and Patna Pirates based at Patna.

The opening match was held at Mumbai where Amitabh Bachchan was found cheering for his son's team. Aishwarya rai was also present with Abhishek Bachchan. Together with them Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan, Aamir khan, Sunil Shetty , Sonali Bendre, Farah Khan, Boman Irani and producer Ronnie Screwvala cheering for his team U Mumba were present at the stadium.

Indian star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was present with his wife and daughter who said he enjoyed the speed, agility and strength of the players of the sport very much.

Rakesh Kumar (kabaddi) the captain of the Indian kabaddi team who has received an Arjuna award and also the captain of patna pirates was also present at the inaugural matches who said it is a pleasure to see kabaddi getting recognition through the tournament.

Rakesh Kumar (kabaddi) was the highest bought player in the auction by patna pirates for 12.80 lakhs held before the tournament.

The broadcast rights were bagged by the star sports network. The matches start at 7:45 pm through the month of august on star sports 2 channel in English and star gold channel in Hindi.

World Kabaddi League[edit]

Further information: World Kabaddi League

World Kabaddi League has been introduced in 2014.[7] The league shall follow the rules & guidelines as defined by the circle style Kabaddi federations in Punjab. The league follows the Formula 1 touring sports format and will be played across four countries.[8] The first season will be played from August 2014 to December 2014.[9] Indian rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh bought a team and named in Yo Yo Tigers. Bollywood actors and actress Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha also bought a team in WKL United Singh's is a team of Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha [10]



The Kabaddi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, and it compiled a standard set of rules. The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) was founded in 1973. The AKFI has given new shape to the rules and it has also the rights of modification in the rules. The Asian Kabaddi Federation was founded under the chairmanship of Sharad Pawar.

The name of Circle Kabaddi game was given in 1978 at Jind (Haryana) when 15 States took in the general body meeting and formed the Federation and given name Amateur Circle Kabaddi Federation of India and Prof. J.P.Sharma was unanimously elected as General Secretary of the Federation. In 1982 during the Asian Games at Delhi. Prof. J.P. Sharma General Secretary of ACKFI met Mr. Ali Mohammad Khawaja who was the General Secretary of Pakistan Kabaddi Federation and decided to promote this game in both the countries. Though Mr. Khawaja came from his country for demonstration of national style kabaddi in which the game is played one against all player s and number and area is different and in Pakistan this national style was not popular and both the general secretaries decided to popular circle kabaddi game In both the countries. Mr. Ali Mohammad Khawaja invited Prof. J.P. Sharma in Lahore (Pakistan) in March 1983 on their Punjab Diamond Jubilee celebrations as a guest and asked him to bring Indian team to play In the International match on the name of late Ch. Zahoor Elahi memorial Gold cup International match. Prof. Sharma took the Indian circle kabaddi men team In May 983 and decided to change the rules mutually. So both countries decided that rule is a30 second means player will not speak kabaddi but from the starting line as soon as he crosses watch will count 30 second and within 30 seconds if the player will reach safely will get the point otherwise will loose the points. The total number of the playing members is 14 and playing member 10 only.

The Governing body of Kabaddi in Asia is Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) headed by Mr. Janardan Singh Gehlot. AKF is affiliated to Olympic Council of Asia. Parent body to regulate the game at international level is International Kabaddi Federation (IKF). India won the world cup in December 2013 by defeating Pakistan in finals at Punjab

In 1979, a return test between Bangladesh and India was held at different places of India including Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Punjab. The Asian Kabaddi Championship was successfully arranged in 1980 and India emerged as the champion and Bangladesh as the runners-up. Bangladesh became runners-up again in 1985 in Asian Kabaddi Championship held in Jaipur, India. The other teams included in the tournament were Nepal, Malaysia and Japan. Kabaddi was played as a demonstration sport at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. The game was included for the first time in Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990. Eight countries took part including India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. India won the gold medal and has since won gold at the following three Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994, Bangkok in 1998, Busan in 2002, and in Doha 2006.

In 2014, India introduced the Pro Kabaddi League, an eight-city league with games to be played on a caravan basis with each team playing each other twice in July and August, 2014. In a significant value addition to Kabaddi, these were carried live on prime time TV by the international broadcaster, Star Sports for millions to view across India and the world.


The governing body for kabaddi in Pakistan is Pakistan Kabaddi Federation. Kabaddi is played in all parts of Pakistan, especially rural areas, in one form or the other. It is also popular sport of the sub-continent and in many parts of India and Bangladesh, Kabaddi is played with equal zeal and enthusiasm. Its forms and styles vary from region to region. Malik Mushtaq was the best player of kabaddi in Pakistan. He was declared man of the tournament in Canada at the World Kabaddi Cup 1981. Khalid Randhawa was also best player of kabaddi in Pakistan. He was declared man of the tournament in England kabaddi cup 1988. In Pakistan, Faisalabad is known as the nursery of Kabaddi. It has produced many world class players. Lahore, Gujranwala, Qasoor, Nankana Sahib, Sahiwal, Okara, Bahawalpur, Multan, Bahawalnagar are the other centres of kabaddi where circle style kabaddi is very famous. It is also called the Village game of Punjab, Pakistan.


Kabaddi (Bengali: কাবাডি) is a very popular game in Bangladesh, especially in the villages. Often called the 'game of rural Bengal', it is now the National Game of Bangladesh. In some areas Kabaddi is still known as [Ha-Du-Du], but Ha-Du-Du had no definite rules and was played with different rules in different areas. [Ha-Du-Du] was renamed Kabaddi and given the status of the National Game in 1972.

The Bangladesh Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed in 1973. It framed rules and regulations for the national game. In 1974 Bangladesh played a Kabaddi test match with a visiting Indian team, which played test matches with the district teams of Dhaka, Tangail, Dinajpur, Jessore, Faridpur and Comilla. In 1978, the Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed at a conference of delegates from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan in the Indian town of Villai. Kabaddi is one of the most popular games in schools of Bangladesh.


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 Iran there are different names that they call this game according to the area. 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).[11][12]

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.[11]

United Kingdom[edit]

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. The UK also played host to the 2013 UK Kabaddi Cup.

Women's teams[edit]

Women's kabaddi was first introduced in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. India won gold and Thailand were runner-up with silver. Bangladesh and Iran were knocked out in the semi-finals and shared bronze.


The following national teams played in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games:

  1. Bangladesh Bangladesh
  2. Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei
  3. India India
  4. Iran Iran
  5. Nepal Nepal
  6. Malaysia Malaysia
  7. South Korea South Korea
  8. Thailand Thailand

Asia Kabaddi Cup[edit]

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, Punjab from 1 to 5 November. It is considered one of the biggest events for circle style kabaddi.

In 2012 ASIA Kabaddi Cup held in Lahore, Pakistan in 2012 was won by Pakistan against India with a technical win with score 37–31 after Indian team rejected to play further.

Asian Games[edit]

Pictogram of Kabaddi

Kabaddi is played in Asian Games or Asiad, since 1990. The Indian team has since won all 7 Gold medals followed by Bangladesh team winning 3 silver medals.

UK Kabaddi Cup[edit]

The UK Kabaddi has been happening for many years, but received major recognition during the 2013 UK Kabaddi Cup. It will be one of the biggest international level kabaddi tournaments to happen in England. It featured the national Kabaddi teams from, India, England, Pakistan, USA, Canada and a local club team, Golden Temple (SGPC).

Kabaddi World Cup[edit]

Men World Cup

The Kabaddi World Cup was first played in 2004 and then in 2007 and 2010. It has been an annual tournament since 2010. So far, India is the unbeaten champion in Kabaddi World Cup. Pakistan and Iran are the next most successful nations, with the former being runners-up thrice and the latter twice. Note that Pakistan did not play the first two editions of the Kabaddi World-Cup (2004 and 2007) due to political tensions with the host nation India.

Results of Kabaddi World Cup to date:

Year Final match
2004 India India 55 – 27 Iran Iran
2007 India India 29 – 19 Iran Iran
2010 India India 58 – 24 Pakistan Pakistan
2011 India India 59 – 25 Canada Canada
2012 India India 59 – 22 Pakistan Pakistan
2013 India India 48 – 39 Pakistan Pakistan
Women World Cup

The Women's Kabaddi World Cup was first played in 2012 in Punjab, India. India won the championship defeating Iran in the finals. India retained the title in 2013 by defeating the debutants New Zealand in the finals. [13]

Results of Kabaddi World Cup to date:

Year Final match
2012 India India 25 – 19 Iran Iran
2013 India India 49 - 21 New Zealand

New Zealand

See also[edit]

Films about kabaddi

Pop culture references In the 1993 movie Little Buddha in which Keanu Reeves plays the Siddhartha Gautama, a game of kabaddi is depicted.


  1. ^ Gofran Faroqi (2012). "Kabadi". In Sirajul Islam and Ahmed A. Jamal. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  2. ^ "INTERNATIONAL KABADDI FEDERATION (IKF)". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Welcome to International Kabaddi Federation". Kabaddiikf.com. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  4. ^ "Origin, History and Development of Kabaddi". Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  5. ^ a b "Siddhi Times-March 2009 - Dr.Commander Selvam". Scribd.com. 2009-03-14. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  6. ^ "India Take Kabaddi Gold". rediff.com. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  7. ^ Ripley, Dan (2014-08-06). "Kabaddi was once a Trans World Sport favourite but now it's heading for the 02 Arena as WKL forms | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  8. ^ "Home - The official website of World Kabaddi League". Worldkabaddileague.net. 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  9. ^ The author has posted comments on this article (2014-05-06). "World's first kabaddi league launched in India - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  10. ^ "Rapper Honey Singh buys team in World Kabaddi League, names it Yo Yo Tigers - IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  11. ^ a b تاریخچه کبدی، فدراسیون کبدی جمهوری اسلامی ایران
  12. ^ کَوَدّی کَوَدّی یا کَبَدی کَبَدی؟، محمد تهامی‌نژاد، انسان‌شناسی و فرهنگ، سه‌شنبه، 23 آذر 1389 — 01:05
  13. ^ "India win first women's Kabaddi World Cup". Hindustan Times. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-04. 

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