Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world


Kabaddi is an ancient rural Indian sport, popular in India and elsewhere in Asia, and spreading worldwide. It is also the national sport in Bangladesh. Kabaddi is a contact sport which is similar to wrestling which originated in India.

There are different types of Kabaddi. One is the international, in this type; two teams with seven members each play. They occupy positive halves of the field. Each has three players for substitutes. The sport has two 20-minutes halves, and a five-minute break during halftime. The teams exchange sides during half time.

The teams take turns in sending a "raider" across to the opposite team's half, where the aim is to tag as many opponents as possible before returning to the home half. Tagged members are then "out" and sent off the field. The whole time that the raider is in the oppositions half, he must hold his breath — to prove it he continually chants a word ("kabaddi" in the Indian form of the game, hence the name). The attributes of a good Kabaddi player is speed, power and big lungs!

In 1936 at the Berlin Olympic Games, it was a little known sport (as it is today!) but it got some international exposure (see more about Kabaddi at the Olympics).

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