Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabaddi, are the words we all grew up saying if you were raised in the Indian sub-continent. We birthed the sport and we played the sport and we remain till this day the unbeatable victors at this sport. A common notion attached to the sport is that it comes from the soil of the country and it is us, who are brought up on this soil and have embraced this soil, who deserves to be its champions. Over the years, the sport of our motherland has grown faint, chucked away by the majority until the emergence of the Pro-kabaddi league. Today, the series has grown tremendously in popularity, second only to the most watched gaming league that is IPL.
Kabaddi competitions are taking place all over the world, even maybe as I type, but there are many facts about the sport that are still unknown to the larger audiences. In order to celebrate the resurfacing of our nations very own sport, here are some interesting facts about the sport that you may not have known. Let’s start with the origin of the term itself. Kabaddi is derived from the Tamil word Kai-pidi, which could also be translated as ‘holding hands’. If you know the sport is it easy to presume why that is the name chosen for the sport.
Although all kabaddi competitions to date are won by Indians, did you know that kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. It originated from India but was later adopted by Bangladesh and made into their national sport. Not only was it popular in countries surrounding our nations, kabaddi was first publically introduced to the world when India demonstrated the sport during the Berlin Olympics in the year 1936 from where it took off internationally.
International or not, it took almost 50 years for the sport to be first played by women at a sporting event. After, which the next kabaddi tournament was directly included in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games for the woman’s team. The statistics for woman may be sad, but even critically acclaimed sports like football and cricket refuse to give woman’s sport half the priority that it deserves.
However, Kabaddi as a whole took off quite recently with the introduction of the TV series The Pro Kabaddi League featuring Kabaddi tournaments. The series was such as hit that it became the second most watched sports tournament on Indian TV coming second to India’s biggest sport, Cricket. Those of us, who are familiar with the Cricket mania in India, know that coming second to the sport is quite a big fete in itself.
The most watched event of the year in India is the Cricket world cup with a viewership of 635 million making it the most watched event in the history of Indian TV. To match this, the Pro kabaddi League’s first season had a viewership of 435 million people, which in itself if a record for a sport resurrected from the dead. This is why; the second season of the PKL will feature representations from 34 countries around the world. Of course, it would have to be in India as Kabaddi is the only sort in the world in which the Indian team has remained an unbeaten champion winning world cups around the world.