Kabaddi is sometimes referred to as the "game of the masses" due to its popularity in Asia and its simple format. No sophisticated equipment is required to play the game.

Kabaddi originated in South Asia and is played with two teams of 12 players (seven on court, and five in reserve). The game consists of two halves of 20 minutes each. Two teams compete., alternating between defence and offence.

The purpose of the game is to reach the highest score by touching or capturing the opposing team's players, while continuously chanting "kabaddi-kabaddi". Points are scored by raiding into the opponents' court and touching as many defence players as possible without getting caught. Players on the defensive side are called "antis", while those on the offence are "raiders".

The raider enters the opponent's court chanting the word "kabaddi" while holding his breath and has to continue to do so until he returns to his home court. Antis touched by a raider during the attack are declared "out" if they do not succeed in catching the raider before he returns to his home court.

The game calls for agility, good lung capacity, muscular coordination and quick reflexes.


Kabaddi dates back to pre-historic times, being used to ward off attacks by individuals and vice-versa. The game was popular in southern Asia, played in different forms under different names.

The game, known as hu-tu-tu in western India, ha-do-do in eastern India and Bangladesh, chedugudu in southern India and kaunbada in northern India, has undergone a sea change through the ages. Modern kabaddi is a synthesis of the game played in its various forms under different names.

The Kabaddi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, establishing standard rules and regulations for the game. The first Asian Kabaddi Championship was held in 1980.

The first World Kabaddi Championship (Circle Style) in the history of the game was organised in Hamilton, Canada, when about 14,000 spectators gathered to watch stars from India, Pakistan, Canada, England and the US compete.

The first recognised World Cup in kabaddi as per Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation (AAKF) and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) norms was organised at Mumbai, India, in 2004.

Kabaddi was first included as a competitive sport at the Asian Games in Beijing, in 1990.


Kabaddi competition shall be conducted in accordance with the Rules of the World Amateur Kabaddi Federation (IAKF).

If seven or less teams participate, the matches will be played in a single group with a round robin system. If eight or more teams participate, they will be divided into two groups to play league matches. The top two teams from each group will play in the next round knockout matches.

A victorious team is awarded two points; in the event of a draw each team receives one point while a losing team gets zero points. If there is a draw in the final or semi-finals, two extra periods of five minutes are played immediately, with the same number of players on court as there were at the end of the second half.

Each participating country or region may enter one team comprising a minimum of 10 players and a maximum of 12 players (including standby players).

 Kabaddi in Pakistan

Kabaddi is an indigenous sport, which is played in all parts of Pakistan, especially rural areas, in one form or the other. It is also popular sport of the Sub-Continent and in many parts of India and Bangladesh, Kabaddi is played with equal zeal and enthusiasm. Its forms and styles vary from region to region.

Asian-style Kabaddi has been recognized by the South-East Asian countries. This is the reason, why this particular style of Kabaddi has been included in the South-East Asian Games, held biennially in different countries.

Kabaddi is a manly game which requires athleticism, skill, speed, stamina and agility. It has the capacity to become a popular sport of the Asian continent. The days are not very far, when Asian-style Kabaddi will be part and parcel of the Asian Games - a quadrennial sports extravaganza held in different countries of this continent.

In addition to above, circle style Kabaddi is very popular in England, Canada, America and other countries of the world also. Asian Style Kabaddi has started getting its place in Europe countries as well as in Iran and Afghanistan. However, at places body styles of this indigenous game, which does not cast any amount, rather it is most cheaper game of masses throughout the world especially in villages. This is the reason this game is getting more popularity.