What is kabaddi? A mysterious new sport in Hong Kong

What is kabaddi? A mysterious new sport in Hong Kong
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Far News Agency

What is kabaddi? How do you play kabaddi? Is kabaddi popular in Hong Kong? Kabaddi is a sport that is not as well-known as basketball, soccer and other sports. However, it’s quite popular in India and other Asian countries. Read on for more insight into the sport, its origins and how to play kabaddi. This sport may be something new you’d like to try. You never know – you might even drop your next gym session and run to play kabaddi instead.

What is kabaddi?

First originated in ancient India, kabaddi is a contact team sport with simple rules but requiring loads of energy. From the time of Mahabharata it has slowly spread to different countries around the world including Bangladesh, Thailand, Argentina, Iran and more.

It also became a part of the Beijing Asian Games in the 1990s, solidifying it as a professional sport. Kabaddi brings together a combination of speed, fitness and exhilaration. Although there are fewer rules than other team sports, there is plenty of excitement for the players and the spectators.

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Hamed Malekpour

How to play Kabaddi

If you ask any player how to play kabaddi, many will explain that the rules are very simple – and that is actually the case. Kabaddi is a highly flexible sport with no fixed strategies, complicated rules or specific clothing requirements (other than appropriate sports attire). It can be easily played anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. All you need is a rectangular flat area with boundary lines to indicate the two sides of the court and a group of enthusiastic players who are ready for an energetic battle.

The game is played between two teams with seven players. Each team alternates between being raiders and defenders. The game starts with a “raid,” where a raider from the raiding team goes over the midline to the defending team’s area to tag as many defenders as possible without being tackled. The defending members have to save themselves from being tagged by capturing the raider by wrestling them to the ground and preventing them from returning to the other side.

But there is a catch. The raider has to continuously chant “kabaddi” without taking a breath once he crosses the midline. If the raider is still across the midline and has stopped chanting the word, the defending team scores a point. Each raid has a 30-second time limit, during which the raider must complete his tagging without inhaling a second breath. The match is divided into two sessions with each lasting for 20 minutes. The team with the most points wins the match.

Kabaddi in Hong Kong

Kabaddi has been a low-key sport in Hong Kong with few people playing this sport in the past. However, a few years ago, it began gaining popularity among both locals and non-locals in the region.

Kabaddi was first introduced to Hong Kong by Southeast Asians residing in the region. After the word spread about a new sport in town, many locals and non-locals gathered together to play this sport with each other. This led to the founding of Kabaddi United Hong Kong. This organization/team is aimed at promoting this fun sport to the people in Hong Kong as well as bridging the gap between locals and ethnic minorities (EM) through sports.

Kabaddi United Hong Kong organizes kabaddi workshops and kabaddi fun days for children and young adults of all ethnicities. Through these events, participants have an increased awareness about different cultures and races, encouraging social cohesion in a society where there are many ethnic minorities who may often feel neglected or isolated.

On June 23, 2021, Kabaddi United Hong Kong hosted Kabaddi Fun Day, where many newbies who wanted to learn more about this sport could try it out. Ambassadors taught them the basics of kabaddi before conducting actual matches between teams. It was a perfect opportunity where people from all walks of life came together to share their passion for this new sport.

Kabaddi is more than just a mysterious new sport in Hong Kong. It is a strong magnet that attracts sports lovers from various backgrounds to meet and play while embracing each other’s differences. It is an embodiment of what Hong Kong as a multi-cultural society should strive for – stronger social unity and unbiased acceptance for everyone.

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