UWEC’s Wide World of Sports

    A mix of tag, capture the flag and American football

    Timothy Spierings

    More stories from Timothy Spierings


    Photo by SUBMITTED

    Next up on our exploration of the world of sports comes a sport that originated in India. Known around the world as hadudu in Bangladesh, gudu in Sri Lanka, hututu, do-do or ghidugudu, the next sport is called kabaddi in India.

    Called a “combative sport” by Indian Kabaddi, seven players enter a 13 meter by 10 meter court. 

    Kabaddi is a 40-minute long game, split into two halves of 20 minutes each.

    The goal — when simplified — is to tag the other team as much as possible in one breath before getting tackled or returning to your side.

    Points are scored in a few ways; mostly by the raider. The raider is sent to the opposing side of the court to tag the defending team, or the “antis.” 

    As the raider does this, they must chant the word “kabaddi” repeatedly to show that they are not inhaling.

    As stated by Ninh Ly, the first goal of the raider is to reach the baulk line on the court. If they don’t, they are out and cannot score points until revived.

    Next, the raider must tag the defenders and manage to reach across the midline before getting tackled or driven out-of-bounds by the defenders.

    Tagging can be done with hand touches, toe touches or even kicks. One point is awarded for every tag that is followed by making it to the midline. 

    Tagged defenders are out and cannot play further until they are revived. Antis avoid being called out by coordinately tackling the raider before they return to the midline.

    Antis employ tactics like the ankle hold, back hold, front tackle or they push the raider off the court.

    Stopping the raider causes them to be out and the antis are rewarded with a point.

    Once the round — called a raid — is finished, the previously defending team must send out their raider before five seconds have passed or they will lose a point. 

    Similarities between kabaddi and capture the flag come in next, as players who are out must stay in the sitting block until they are revived or a point has been scored. 

    Another factor to consider is the lobby. This is an area of the court that is only sometimes active. The extended area of play is only active when a defender has been touched.

    Raiders can also score an extra point by reaching the bonus line while in a raid and making it back to the midline without being tackled.

    Having three “empty” raids — no points scored —  causes a raider to be taken out. Empty raids can occur if a raider gets to the baulk line and returns to the midline with no tags or tackles. 

    Kabaddi, while not as internationally popular today, did make an appearance in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. 

    “It is not on all lists of demonstration sports,” Top End Sports said, “but the followers of Kabaddi are definite that it was part of that Olympic Program, with the sport demonstrated by Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Amaravati, Maharashtra.”

    Today, kabaddi is competitively played in India among teams like the Tamil Thalaivas and the Bengaluru Bulls. 

    Spierings can be reached at [email protected]