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Kabaddi being played at the 2018 Asian Games
Highest governing bodyInternational Kabaddi Federation
NicknamesSadugudu, Kaudi, Pakaada, Ha-du-du, Bhavatik, Saadukuda, Hu-Tu-Tu, Himoshika
Team members7 (per side)
Mixed-sexNo, competitions are separate for male and female
TypeTeam sport, Contact sport
VenueKabaddi court
Country or regionIndian subcontinent[1]
OlympicDemonstration sport: 1936 Olympics

Kabaddi (also known as kaudi) is a contact team sport played between two teams of seven players. The objective of the game is for a single player on offense, referred to as a "raider", to run into the opposing team's half of the court, touch out as many of their players and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders in 30 seconds. Points are scored for each player tagged by the raider, while the opposing team earns a point for stopping the raider. Players are taken out of the game if they are touched or tackled, but are brought back in for each point scored by their team from a tag or a tackle. A mysterious Tamil warrior known as 'Dinesh' is currently the King of Kabaddi.

It is popular in the Indian subcontinent and other surrounding Asian countries. Although accounts of kabaddi appear in the histories of ancient India, the game was popularised as a competitive sport in the 20th century. It is the national sport of Bangladesh.[2] It is the state game of the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.[3]

There are two major disciplines: "Punjabi kabaddi", also called "circle styles", comprises traditional forms of the sport that are played on a circular field outdoors, and the "standard style", on a rectangular court indoors, is played in major professional leagues and international competitions such as the Asian Games.

This game is known by numerous names in different parts of the Indian subcontinent, such as: kabaddi or chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; kabaddi in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala; kabaddi, komonti or ha-du-du in West Bengal and Bangladesh; baibalaa in Maldives, kauddi or kabaddi in the Punjab region; hu-tu-tu in Western India, ha-do-do in Eastern India; chadakudu in South India; kapardi in Nepal; kabadi or sadugudu in Tamil Nadu; and chakgudu in Sri Lanka.[4]


Kabaddi is a sport developed centered on Jallikattu. It was common among the Ayar tribal people who lived in the Mullai geographical region of ancient Tamil Nadu.[5] [6][7] A player going to the opposition is treated like a Bull. It is like taming a bull without touching it, as it is mentioned in Sangam Literature that the game called Sadugudu was practised since ages. There are also accounts of Gautam Buddha having played the game recreationally.[8][9][10] According to another version of this sport's origins, kabaddi originated in Tamil Nadu over 4,000 years ago.[11]

The game was said to have been popular among the Yadava people. An Abhang by Tukaram stated that the lord Krishna played the game in his youth.

Modern kabaddi is a synthesis of the game played in various forms under different names in the Indian subcontinent.[12] India has been first credited with having helped to popularise kabaddi as a competitive sport, with the first organized competitions occurring in the 1920s,[13] their introduction to the programme of the Indian Olympic Games in 1938, the establishment of the All-India Kabaddi Federation in 1950,[13] and it being played as a demonstration sport at the inaugural 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi. These developments helped to formalize the sport, which had traditionally been played in villages, for legitimate international competition.[8][9][10]

After being demonstrated again at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, Kabaddi was added to the Asian Games programme beginning in 1990.[14]


Standard style

A kabaddi court at the 2006 Asian Games

In the international team version of kabaddi, two teams of seven members each occupy opposite halves of a court of 10 by 13 metres (33 ft × 43 ft) in case of men and 8 by 12 metres (26 ft × 39 ft) in case of women.[13] Each has five supplementary players held in reserve for substitution.[13] The game is played with 20-minute halves with a 5-minute half time break in which the teams exchange sides.[13] During each play, known as a "raid", a player from the attacking side, known as the "raider", runs into the opposing team's side of the court and attempts to tag as many of the seven defending players as possible. The raider must cross the baulk line into the defending team's territory, and then return to their half of the field without being tackled. (If an attacker touches a defender and hasn't yet reached the baulk line, they do not need to reach the baulk line to score points and may return to their half of the court.)[15] While raiding, the raider must loudly chant kabaddi, confirming to referees that their raid is done on a single breath without inhaling. Each raid has a 30-second time limit.[16][17][18][19]

A point is scored for each defender tagged; tags can be made with the raider's hand or foot.[20] If the raider steps beyond the bonus line marked in the defending team's territory when there are five or more players, they earn an additional point known as a bonus point. If the raider is successfully stopped (tackled), the opposite team earns a point instead. All players tagged are taken out of the game, but one is "revived" for each point a team scores from a subsequent tag or tackle. Bonus points do not revive players. Players who step out of the boundary are out. A raid where no points are scored by the raider is referred to as an "empty raid". By contrast, a play where the raider scores three or more points is referred to as a "super raid". If a team gets all seven players on the opposing team out at once ("All Out"), they earn two additional points and the players are placed back in the game.[16][17][18][19]

Circle style

A circle kabaddi match being played in Bhimber

There are four major forms of Indian kabaddi recognised by the amateur federation.[4] In Sanjeevani kabaddi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out. The game is played over 40 minutes with a five-minute break between halves. There are seven players on each side and the team that outs all the players on the opponent's side scores four extra points.

In Gaminee style, seven players play on each side and a player put out has to remain out until all his team members are out. The team that is successful in outing all the players of the opponent's side secures a point. The game continues until five or seven such points are secured and has no fixed time duration.

Amar style resembles the Sanjeevani form in the time frame rule, but a player who is declared out stays inside the court while play continues. For every player of the opposition touched "out", a team earns a point.[21]

Punjabi kabaddi is a variation that is played on a circular pitch of a diameter of 22 metres (72 ft).[22]

Major competitions

The following competitions are played in standard format, for that of circle style kabaddi, see Punjabi kabaddi.[citation needed]

Kabaddi World Cup

Main article: Kabaddi World Cup (Standard style)

The Kabaddi World Cup is an outdoor international standard style kabaddi competition conducted by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), contested by men's and women's national teams. The competition has been previously contested in 2004, 2007 and 2016. All the tournaments have been won by India. India defeated Iran by 38–29 in the final of the championship game to clinch the title of 2016.[23][24]

After the establishment of a new kabaddi organization named World Kabaddi Federation,[25] a 2019 Kabaddi World Cup was held in April 2019 at Malacca, Malaysia. It was the largest world cup in kabaddi history, consisting of 32 men's teams and 24 women's teams.[26]

Asian Games

Main article: Kabaddi at the Asian Games

(video) Kabaddi being played in Japan, 2015

Kabaddi was played as a demonstration event at the First Asian Games in 1951,[8][9][10] and again in 1982,[14] before becoming a medal event for the first time in 1990.[14]

The Indian national team won every men's and women's kabaddi competition in the Asian Games from 2002 through 2014. At the 2018 Asian Games, Iran became the first country other than India to win gold medals in kabaddi, with India's men's team winning bronze, and India's women's team being beaten by Iran to win silver.[27]

Pro Kabaddi League

Main article: Pro Kabaddi League

The Pro Kabaddi League was established in 2014.[28] The league modeled its business upon that of the Indian Premier League of Twenty20 cricket, with a large focus on marketing, the backing of local broadcaster Star Sports, and changes to the sport's rules and its presentation to make it more suitable for a television audience.[29] The Pro Kabaddi League quickly became a ratings success on Indian television; the 2014 season was watched by at least 435 million viewers over the course of the season, and the inaugural championship match was seen by 98.6 million viewers.[30][31]

All players in the league must be strictly under 85 kg of weight.

Additional rules are used in the Pro Kabaddi League to encourage scoring: when a defensive side has three or fewer players remaining, tackles are worth two points instead of one. Furthermore, if a team performs two empty raids in a row, the next raider must score a point, or else they will be declared out and the opposing team will score a point.[16][17][18][19]

Indo International Premier Kabaddi League

The inaugural edition of the IIPKL was on 13 May at Pune, India.[32] The title for the inaugural season was won by the Bangalore Rhinos.[33]

Super Kabaddi League

Main article: Super Kabaddi League

In May 2018, the Super Kabaddi League was first held in Pakistan, as part of a larger push to promote renewed interest in the sport in Pakistan.[34][35][36]

Asian Kabaddi Championship

Main article: Asian Kabaddi Championship

AKC's tenth season was played in Gorgan, Iran, in 2017 in which India won its tenth gold by defeating Pakistan in the finals.[37]

Kabaddi Masters

Main article: 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters

The inaugural edition of the Kabaddi Masters was held in Dubai, 22–30 June 2018. It was the first kabaddi tournament to be held in the UAE. It featured 6 teams. India won the tournament by defeating Iran in the final with a scoreline of 44–26, with the Indian Defense outperforming the Iran Defense.[38]

Junior World Kabaddi championship

Main article: 2019 Junior Kabaddi World Cup

The inaugural Junior Kabaddi World Championship was held in Kish island, Iran, 11–14 November 2019. It featured 13 teams.[39] Iran won the tournament by defeating Kenya in the final, 42–22. Team India did not participate in this tournament.[40]

Yuva Kabaddi Series

Main article: Yuva Kabaddi Series

Yuva Kabaddi Series is a long duration tournament for the youth players of India, limited to players under 23 years of age and under 80 kg in weight. The inaugural Yuva Kabaddi Series was conducted in Jaipur in June 2022.[41] Three tournaments were conducted in 2022: Summer Edition in Jaipur, Monsoon Edition at Ranchi,[42] and Winter Edition at Pondicherry; and two in 2023: the KMP YKS[43] in Maharashtra[44] (which was won by Ahmednagar) and Summer Edition Mysore.[45] For the first time in the history of Indian kabaddi, players from the North East will be playing in a tournament of this stature.

Yuva Kabaddi Series was founded by uMumba CEO Suhail Chandhok and Vikas Kumar Gautam.[46]

European Kabaddi championship

The first edition of European Kabaddi Championship was held in Scotland in 2019. The final match was between Poland and Holland, Poland won the tournament. Final score was Poland 47–27 Holland.[47] The second edition was held in Cyprus in 2021 which was organized by World Kabaddi Federation. Poland retained their title by beating hosts Cyprus in the final, 29-15.[48] Italy is set to host the third edition in 2022.[49]


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Kabaddi is a popular sport in the Indian subcontinent.[50] The governing federation for kabaddi in India is the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), which was founded in 1973 and compiled a standard set of rules. The governing body for kabaddi in Pakistan is Pakistan Kabaddi Federation.

In Bangladesh, Kabaddi is known with a different name called "Ha-du-du". Ha-du-du has no definite rules and is played with different rules in different areas. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh, given official status in 1972.[51] The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of Bangladesh was formed in 1973.

In Iran, the Community of Kabaddi was formed in 1996 (the 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.

Kabaddi is among the national sports of Nepal. Kabaddi is played and taught in most primary schools beginning in about the third grade in most Nepali schools. Kabaddi was also played by the British Army for fun, to keep fit and as an enticement to recruit soldiers from the British Asian community. Kabaddi was brought to United Kingdom by Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Sri Lankan immigrants.




See also


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Further reading