Kabaddi is a contact team sport. Originated in Tamil Nadu, India the sport is very popular in southern part of the Asian continent. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh and is also the state game of Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab and Telangana. The word “Kabaddi” has been derived from the Tamil word “kai-pidi” which means to hold hands. However, the word might have been widespread in the Northern part of the country.
The sport was recognized at an international level when it was demonstrated in 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was introduced in the Indian National Games at Calcutta in 1938 and then the All Indian Kabaddi Federation (AIKF) was formed in 1950 which was then reconstituted as the Amateur Kabaddi Federation in 1972. The first national tournament for men was convened in Chennai, India, the same year.
Today, the sport has gained popularity worldwide with the growing interest of many athletes around the globe and is played by a number of nations especially the eastern ones.
There are two teams of seven players each along with five substitutions that can be availed with the permission of the referee. The teams compete against each other by occupying one-half of the court. The team score point or points on their turn by sending a “raider” into the opposing team’s half and touching the other team’s member or members and thus returning on his half, the whole activity of the raider takes place only on a single breath while he keeps on chanting “Kabaddi, Kabaddi…”. If the raider is tackled and prevented from returning, the other team earns the point.
The professional player of the Indian national Kabaddi team, Rakesh Kumar was the vice-captain when the team was roped in the Gold Medal at the 2007 World Cup held in India. The government of India has awarded him with the Arjuna Award to recognize his contribution to the sport.
Anup Kumar is an ace Kabaddi player and also the captain of Pro Kabaddi League team U Mumba. He is best remembered for his signature move the ‘toe touch’ where he puts the opponent out of the field by stepping on his feet before running back in a blink of an eye. Anup has also received the Arjuna Award by the Government of India.
An army man from Thailand who has learned the sport just by watching it on the television, Khomsan Thongkham has the strike rate of 8.6 successful raids per match which speaks aloud about his skills and determination towards the game.