How is Kabaddi played?

Kabaddi is an ancient and popular sport. It includes two teams of 7 players each that take turns raiding and defending against each other.

Kabaddi is an ancient sport that originated in India. It is still quite popular and is widely played. It is commonly played all over India, and is often known by its regional names which include hadudu, baibalaa, chedugudu, sadugudu, hututu, and many more. While, it was traditionally played in India, it has now gained popularity around the world, especially in countries with large Indian disporas. Canada, UK, Japan, Thailand, Maldives, Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan, all play kabaddi. It is also the national sport of Bangladesh. There are even Kabaddi world cups held, of which India has won nearly every championship. India also hosts the world’s first Kabaddi League.

Kabaddi is a team contact sport which developed as a recreational form of combat training. It involves two teams taking procession of two halves of a rectangular field. The dimensions of the field commonly are 13 meters (42.7 ft) wide x 10 meters (32.8 ft) long. However, the field may be shortened in times for impromptu play or for women tournaments. Each half of the court is further divided into segments including Play area lines, Midline, Baulk lines, and Bonus lines.

The entire court is marked by the boundary lines. The play area lines mark off the play area which excludes the lobby, i.e. a one meter area on each of the long side of the court. The midline divides the court into two equal parts; each side of the court is individually called a court. A baulk line is then drawn on each court. This line is 3.75m from midline. If this line is touched, a raid is considered successful even if no defenders are tagged. The Bonus line is drawn 4.75m from the midline, or 1m from the baulk line. As its name suggest, this line is used to get a bonus point under particular conditions.

The game itself includes two teams of 7 people each. There are also five substitutes available. The condition is that a player can’t weigh more than 85kgs. A game of kabaddi lasts 50 minutes total, which includes two halves of 20 mins each with a break of 10 mins in between. As with all sports, the team with the most points at the end wins.

Points in kabaddi can be earned in two main ways, either by raiding or by defending. The teams take turns raiding and defending. In raiding, a player is sent into the other team’s court. Their objective is to tag (i.e. touch) as many players of the opposite team as possible and make it back to their own court all the while chanting ‘kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi…’ If at any point the player stops chanting while in the other team’s territory, the player is out. Alternatively, if the other team captures the player then he is out. The other team’s objective while defending is to avoid being tagged and to capture the player by surrounding him and not allowing him to return to his side. Or if they push him into the lobby, then he is out. However, if a defender is pulled by him into the lobby, then the defender is out as well.

Each person tagged while raiding earn the raiding team a point. The tagged people also have to sit out of the game until their team can revive them. Also, the raiding team can revive the same number of people that they tagged out. When all the defenders of a particular team are out, the raiding team scored a “lona” which mean that they get two points but all seven defenders can now come back on court. Additionally, if while raiding, the raider touches the bonus line, then he earns a bonus point. However, none of his “out” players can be revived in that turn due to it.

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