sports gazette

Kabaddi World Cup set to roll after nine years

Published: 6 Oct 2016

Sports Gazette takes a look at Kabaddi as the world prepares to witness the Kabaddi World Cup 2016.

In England, football is seen as Juliet in the eyes of every Romeo. But a group of students from London School of Economics, Imperial College, Kings College, University of Manchester and University of Birmingham have been flirting with kabaddi.

Kabaddi is slowly stirring interest among the students, hence why a handful of Universities have started their own kabaddi clubs. Even though the sport was brought into Britain by Indian and Pakistani immigrants, people from other communities have been playing the sport recently. It received major recognition in UK during the 2013 UK Kabaddi Cup.

The England team will be participating in the 3rd edition of the Kabaddi World Cup beginning on October 7 and the final is scheduled to take place on October 22. All the matches will be held at Arena by TransStadia, an upcoming state-of-the-art stadium in Ahmedabad, India.

The World Cup will be a 12 nation affair, with the teams split into two groups of six teams each. England are placed in Group A alongside India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Australia and Argentina. While Group B has Iran, Thailand, Japan, USA, Poland and Kenya.
The tournament has received a major blow as Pakistan, a team fancied by many, have been debarred from participating. Pakistan will not feature in the World Cup due to the rising tension with hosts, India. Surprisingly, the Canadian team will also give the tournament a miss. Even though most kabaddi clubs exist in Canada that are run by NRI Sikhs, the players will be representing USA. Canada has a more active kabaddi calendar compared to USA.

An opening day double-header will see defending champions India take on Korea and USA will play against World Cup finalists Iran. India and Iran are the hot favourites to win this year’s title. England face Bangladesh in their first match to be played on October 8. The World Cup has been held only twice before, with India winning both editions. Despite England reaching the quarterfinals in 2004, they failed to make it through the group stages three years later. 


The game is played in around 35 countries, but it is dominated by India, where it originated. It is the national sport of Bangladesh and Nepal.


40 minutes (two halves of 20 minutes each)


Rectangular arena. For men, 13 metres x 10 metres. For women, 12 metres x 8 metres.


Kabaddi requires exceptional lungpower. Two teams of seven members each send a raider into their opponent’s half of the court to tag an opponent before returning - in just one breath. Attackers chant ‘kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi’ to prove they are not inhaling. The number of defenders the raider touches corresponds to the number of points the raider’s team earns. A point can be scored if the raider crosses the bonus line. However, if the raider is caught by the opposition team, they win the point. The team with the most number of points at the end of the game is declared the winner.

FUN FACT FROM HISTORY: Kabaddi was played by the British Army for fun, to keep fit and as an allurement to recruit soldiers from the British Asian community.

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