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Kabadi is a team sport, played mostly in South Asia. The word 'Kabadi' is derived from a Hindi word that means, 'holding your breath,' which is the activity that underlies all games of Kabadi. It is most often played in underwear (Shorts) in villages and in track suits in tournaments. Kabadi was one of the demonstration games at Asiad '82.

How to Play

Number of teams                        : 2

Number of Players per Team     : 12

Number of Players in court        : 7

Number of Players in reserve    : 5

Dimensions of the Court            : 12.50m x 10m, divided by a line into two halves

Timing                                          : Two 20 minute halves, with a break of five minutes

Criteria                                         : On the basis of age-group and weight

Referee’s                                     : 7 (1 referee, 2 umpires, 2 linesmen, 1 time keeper and 1 scorer )


The side winning the toss sends a 'raider', who enters the opponents court murmuring continuously, 'Kabadi - Kabadi' in one breath. The raider's aim is to touch anyone or more players on the opposing side, and return to his court without losing that breath. The person, whom the raider touches, will be out. The aim of the opposing team will be to hold the raider, and stop him from returning to his own court, until he takes another breath. If the raider cannot return to his court in the same breath while murmuring 'Kabadi - Kabadi', he will be declared out. Each team sends a player alternatively into the opponents' court. If a player goes out of the boundary line during the course of the play, or if any part of his body touches the ground outside the boundary, he will be out, except during a struggle.

The team scores a lona (a bonus of two points), if the entire opposition is declared out. The game then continues by putting all the players on both sides.

Matches are staged on the basis of age-groups and weight. Seven officials supervise a match - one referee, two umpires, two linesmen, one time keeper and a scorer.


Types of Kabadi

In India, Three forms of Kabadi are played, they are

  • Surjeevani

  • Gaminee

  • Amar (Punjab Style)

The 'Surjeevani' form of Kabadi is played under the Kabadi Federation of India, and is governed by its rules and regulations. In the 'Surjeevani' form of Kabadi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out. i.e. one out, one in. The duration of the game, the numbers of players, dimensions of the court, etc. have been fixed by the Kabadi Federation of India.

In the 'Gaminee' type of Kabadi, there is no revival. When all the players of

team are out, the game ends. So there is no time limit in this category.

In the 'Amar' form of Kabadi, whenever any player is touched (out), he does

not go out of the court, but stays inside, and one point is awarded to the

team that touched him. In this way, one point for each touches for the opposite team, i.e. to the team who touches the anti player. This game is also played on a time basis, i.e. the time is fixed.

In the northern part of the India, like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, Kabadi is played in a circle. This is known as 'Circle Kabadi' or Amar Kabadi. If it is played without a court, as in some places, it's called 'Goongi Kabadi'. The Goongi Kabadi is nothing but wrestling between two players.

Worldwide Recognition for Kabadi

The first World Kabadi Championship in the history of the game, was

organised in Hamilton when approximately 14,000 people packed Copps

Coliseum, to watch stars from India, Pakistan, Canada, England, and the

United States compete.

The Kabadi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, and it compiled a standard set of rules. The Amateur Kabadi Federation of India (AKFI) was founded in 1973. The AKFI has given new shape to the rules, and it has also the rights of modification in the rules. The Asian Kabadi Federation was founded under the chairmanship of Mr. Sharad Pawar (Maharashtra).

Some of the Arjuna Award winners are Sh. Sadanand Mahadeo Shetty, Sh. Sadanand Mahadeo Shetty, Sh. Shakuntla Panghar Kholavakar, Sh. Shantaram Jaatu, Kumari Monika Nath, Kumari Maya Kashi Nath, Rama Sarkar etc.