How Many Countries Are In The Cricket World Cup Kabbadi the Game – Its Origins and Popularity

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Kabbadi the Game – Its Origins and Popularity

Games and sports have been played by humans since time immemorial. Kabbadi is a very popular game in South Asia although the game is played under different names in different countries. It has also gained international recognition with several prestigious tournaments held around the world. The International Kabbadi Federation lists 31 countries as its members.

The earliest form of Kabbadi originated in ancient India and there are several references to the game in the Mahabharata. The ancient Indian schools practiced the game with great respect. The poet Tukaram has said in his writings that kabbadi was one of Lord Krishna’s favorite sports. It has been one of the most popular sports in South India for many centuries.

Kabbadi is a contact sport played by two opposing teams. The term Kabbadi is also used when referring to the different forms such as Sanjeevani, Gaminee, Amar and Punjabi which are played to comply with international rules. Interestingly, this same game goes by several names in India – eg Kabbadi or Sadugudu in Tamil Nadu, Chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh, Hututu in Maharashtra. Elsewhere in the Asian region, it is known as Hadudu in Bangladesh and Baibalaa in the Maldives. There are some variations in the rules between playing countries although the game itself is not played very differently and is considered a national sport – for eg Bangladesh and Nepal. During the British occupation of India it was played by British soldiers as a fun sport and was only about to make its way into the UK. The game is controlled by governing federations in these countries.

The origins of the game have been somewhat of a mystery, with several claimants to fame. It probably originates from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, if the name ‘kabbadi’ is understood to be a derivative of the term ‘kai pidi’, which means ‘holding hands’. It may have started as a form of self defense between village groups and hunting parties and slowly transformed into a game of fun. By the early 1900s, the rules of the game had become standardized and modern. Since then it has become a synthesis of the sport played under various names and is popular among men and women equally.

Kabbadi gained international exposure in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics where it was demonstrated by India. It entered the Indian National Games in Kolkata in 1938. Reconstituted as the Amateur Kabbadi Federation of India (AKFI) in 1972 from the earlier 1950s version of the All India Kabbadi Federation (AIKF), the sport received a major boost when the first national tournament was held in Chennai.

In the mid-1970s, Kabbadi was introduced to Japan, Nepal and Malaysia. The first Asian Kabbadi Championship was played in 1980 and Kabbadi was included in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing for the first time ever. The most popular Kabbadi Championships are the Asian Games, Asia Kabbadi Cup, UK Kabbadi Cup and World Kabbadi Cup. The Pro Kabbadi League which started in 2014 in India is a national tournament that consists of eight franchise teams from eight different cities competing for a trophy, much like the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

International variants of the game also feature similar rules where two teams consisting of seven members each, with three substitutes, face off on a field. The game lasts 45 minutes with two halves of 20 minutes each and a 5 minute break halfway through when the teams switch sides. The variations in different forms are mainly on the points scored by teams, some rules that govern the players and in some cases, the length of time.

Kabbadi is one of the few games that is played indoors as well as outdoors. In fact, beach kabbadi is a very popular element of the sport.

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