Pro Kabaddi - The future of Kabaddi

History of Kabaddi in India

Amateur Kabaddi Federation India (AKFI) | Image Resource :

Kabaddi has been played in different formsHistory of Kabaddi in India since pre-historic times. It took shape in its modern form in India during the 1930’s. The earliest rules of the sport were prepared for domestic competitions in Maharashtra in 1921. They combined the two patterns of Sanjeevani and Gamini. The All India Kabaddi Federation was established in 1950 for the promotion of the sport. A new sporting body, Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) was formed in 1972 to popularize the sport in India and its neighbouring countries. It was affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association. After it’s formation, national level competitions were started for junior and sub-junior girls and boys.

The Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) was created in 1978 and the first Asian Kabaddi Championship was organized in 1980. It was included as a demonstration game in the 9th Asian Games held at New Delhi in 1982. Kabaddi was introduced as a regular sports discipline at the 11th Asian Games held at Beijing in 1990. The Indian team holds the record of winning the gold medal successively in Hiroshima (1994), Bangkok (1998), Busan (2002), Doha (2006) and Guanzhou (2010).

International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) | Image Resource :

The International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) was formed in 2004 and the 1st Kabaddi World Cup was held in Mumbai in the same year. India won the World Cup by beating Iran in the final. There has been some gradual, yet important change in game trends over the last few years. The introduction of shoes, mats and changes in rules has made Kabaddi more athletic and interesting than before. Its popularity in different parts of the world has gone up as a result.

Variations of Kabaddi

As per the international version of the game, two teams including seven members each occupy opposite halves of the field. It is 10mx13m for men and 8mx12m for women. Both teams can have three players in reserve. The game is played in 20 minute halves and is given a five minute break. Both teams exchange sides during the break. They take turns to send a raider in the other half. To acquire a point, the raider needs to hold his breath, run towards the opponent’s half and tag one or more members of the opposing half and then return to his own half without breathing in again.

The raider will also chant ‘’kabaddi kabaddi’’ with exhaling breath to prove the referee that he has not inhaled. He will be declared out if he loses breath before returning to his half. He won’t get a point if he returns to his half without touching an opponent. The tagged defenders will be out if they fail to catch the raider who has tagged them. Wrestling to the round is a common method to prevent the raider from escaping before he breathes in.

Defenders might not cross the central line and the raider might not cross the boundary lines. But, there is a bonus line that will grant extra points to the raider if he can touch and return successfully. Players who are out are sent out off the field for the time being. The team wins a bonus of three points, also known as lona if the whole opposing team is declared out. The team with most number of points is declared the winner at the end of the game. Six officials supervise a kabaddi match, a referee, two umpires, a scorer and two assistant scorers.

Different forms of Kabaddi in India

In India, kabaddi has three variations - Sanjeevani, Amar and Gaminee. It is recognized by Kabaddi Federation of India and the game is based on its regulations. For example, a player T from Team A tags a player D from team B during his raid. The latter is out and will have to go out of the court. During the return raid, if team B’s player C tags player E from team A, then player E will be out and will have to go out of the court. But, this will revive player D from team B, who can enter the court.

Gaminee type of Kabaddi | Image Resource :

But in Gaminee style, there is no revival. The game ends once all seven members of a team are out. For a game to be decided, all members of a team need to be out. In Amar Kabaddi, player 6, a raider from team A raids team B’s court and touches the back of player 3 from team B. The former gets a point, but player 3 will remain in court. A point is awarded to a team for each touch, and the team that wins highest points at the end of the set time is declared the winner.

Notable competitions in Kabaddi

Asian Games - The game has been included in Asian Games since 1990. India has won all 7 gold medals till date.

Asia Kabaddi Cup - Held twice in consecutive years, the first tournament was held in Iran in 2011. The second Asia Kabaddi Cup was organized in Lahore, Pakistan in 2012.

Kabaddi World Cup - This been an annual tournament since 2010. India has won all editions of the World Cup till date.

Kabaddi World Cup Men | Image Resource :

Women’s World Cup - The first Women’s World Cup was organized in Patna in 2012. India defeated Iran in the final to become World Champions. In 2013, India retained the trophy by defeating New Zealand.

Women’s World Cup| Image Resource :

Pro Kabaddi League — Based on IPL, its first edition was organized in 2014 with eight franchises from eight different Indian cities. Jaipur Pink Panthers won the first edition.

Jaipur Pink Panthers won 2014 final Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) | Image Resource :

Pro Kabaddi League

It is a professional Kabaddi League, based on IPL T20 tournament. Founded in 2014, it has an eight-city league based in caravan format. The tournament is an initiative of Marshal Sports.

Pro Kabaddi League Teams | Image Resource :,,

The impact of Pro Kabaddi League on the sport

The game has acquired a lot of popularity since the launch of the Pro Kabaddi League. Long considered a favourite pass time for the rural population, it has attracted not just city based viewers but film stars and corporates who have made most of the bids as well.

Film Stars promoting Pro Kabaddi league (PKL)| Image Resource :
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