Chennai: India will be keenly watching the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, starting on Friday in Ahmedabad, as the country won seven gold medals in the sport at the Asian Games, and lifted the only two Kabaddi World Cups that have been held in the past. The finals of the tournament will be held on 22 October. As world champions and hot favourites, India led by captain Anup Kumar will lock horns with South Korea in the inaugural match.
Mint brings you some interesting facts about the sport, ranging from its origins to its various forms.
1. Though, kabaddi is a south Asian game, the genesis of the sport is not clear. Some trace it back to the epics and vedas, as invented by Abhimanyu during the Mahabharata battle at Kurukshetra. However, there is a popular belief that the sport originated in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and kabaddi is derived from the Tamil word—kai-pidi, which means holding hands.
2. Apart from Tamil Nadu, kabaddi is the state game of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. Kabaddi is widely referred as sadu-gudu in south India, kaunbada in some parts of the north and ha-du-du in the east and Bangladesh. Other names given to the sport are do-do (Nepal), guddo (Sri Lanka), chado-guddo (Malaysia) and techib (Indonesia).
3. Modern-day kabaddi is a synthesis of Amar, Sanjeevani and Gaminee—three styles that were prevalent in India over the ages—in two common formats. The International Rules Kabaddi World Cup, which begins on Friday, is played by two teams of seven members each for 40 minutes with a five-minute break. The sport has its own indigenous rules across India. The circle-style kabaddi, though not recognized by the International Kabaddi Federation, has its separate World cup.
4. Only two world cups have been held till now in 2004 and 2007, and India won both the times. There is no women’s world cup in this format. In both the 2004 and 2007 tournaments, while India were the champions, Iran finished second and Bangladesh came third.
5. The circle format world cup is held every year since 2010 for men and from 2012 for women. India has been champion in both the categories. World Cup 2015 was cancelled because of a controversy on Guru Granth Sahib’s desecration.
6. This contact sport received international exposure in the 1936 Berlin Olympics when it was played as a demonstration sport. While Kabaddi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) was formed in 1973.The first Asian Kabaddi Championship was held in 1980 and, as expected, India emerged as the champion, beating Bangladesh in the final.
7. This ancient Indian sport, part of the country’s popular culture, moved from the muddy ground to fancy indoor arenas, when Pro Kabaddi League—a franchise system that had eight teams and 96 players—was launched in 2014. It became the second-most viewed sports tournament on Indian TV in its inaugural season. This year, Women’s Kabaddi Challenge started as part of the league.
8. The 2016 World Cup, organized by the International Kabaddi Federation, features 12 countries of the 32 kabaddi playing countries— India, US, UK, Australia, Iran, Poland, Thailand, Bangladesh, South Korea, Japan, Argentina and Kenya. The tournament will be broadcast live in 120-odd countries by Star Sports, which will be a first for a kabaddi tournament, according to International Kabaddi Federation chief Deoraj Chaturvedi.