What is Kabaddi?

Published 30 July 2019 by Caroline

One of the main attractions of the Waltham Forest Mela has always been Kabaddi

Kabaddi is a growing sport the UK, and in 2012 the England women’s Kabaddi team put in a bid in for this contact sport to be part of the 2020 Olympics. 

Last summer, the Asian Games Kabaddi finals were held in Jakarta, Indonesia last summer. The Iranian men's and women's team were successful in obtaining the winning titles.
The game originated in Tamil Nadu, southern India, and was highlighted internationally during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. 

It combines elements of freestyle wrestling and rugby whilst testing speed, agility and power. 

There are many variations of Kabaddi, and it is played in countries such as Pakistan, India, Japan, Nepal and Malaysia as well as being the national sport of Bangladesh. 

The Rules:

Kabaddi is played by two teams, consisting of twelve players. Its playing field is separated into two halves by a white line.  
Points are gained by both attacking and defending: to gain a point the attacking team sends a Raider to the defenders half to tag out an opposing player whilst using only a single breath.  

The defenders try to stop the Raider leaving their half. If the defenders wrestle the Raider to the ground until they release their breath, the defending team gets the point and that Raider is out of the game. 

However, if, whilst being wrestled, the Raider touches the mid-line with breath intact, then the point goes to the Raider’s team. 

It is made more challenging in that whilst in the opponents half the Raider must continuously chant Hu tu tu, hu tu/tu/ Kabaddi (open to regional variations). 

The game comes to an end when one side loses all its players, or loses the largest number of players within the set time, with according points.

Make sure you check out Kabaddi being played throughout the day at Waltham Forest Mela on Sunday 4 August, 2-9pm, in Leyton Jubilee Park.