November 23rd 2017

Sports / Updates

New Indian-born sport carries hope for adventurous Kenyans

Kabaddi has got very many variations. However, in the international team version, two teams of seven members each occupy opposite halves of a field of 10 by 13 metres (33ft x 43ft) in the case of men and 8 by 12 metres (26ft x 39ft) in the case of women.

By Thomas Matalangatmatalanga@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 07 Nov 2016 18:22 EAT

Kenya and Iran meet at the Kabaddi World Cup 2016, where Kenya lost. (Photo: Press TV)

There is a new sport in town in Kenyans have shown immense potential. Kabaddi is a contact sport which originated in ancient India. It has different names  from different parts of  the Indian subcontinent such as Kauddi in Punjab and Hadudu in Bengal amongst many other names. The popularity of the sport in Kenya is still at a very low point.

The growth of Kabbadi as a sport has immensely grown in Kenya over the last few years. However, many people do not understand how the sport is played. Kenya recently took part in the Kabbadi World Cup 2016 held in India. Despite registering wins against Poland, USA and Japan, losses to Thailand and Iran saw Kenya place third in Pool B and thus, eliminated at the pool stages.

Kabaddi has got very many variations. However, in the international team version, two teams of seven members each occupy opposite halves of a field of 10 by 13 metres (33ft x 43ft) in the case of men and 8 by 12 metres (26ft x 39ft) in the case of women. Each team has got three supplementary players held in reserve. The game is played with 20-minute halves with a five-minute half time break during  which the teams exchange sides.

Teams take turns sending a 'raider' to the other half. To win a point, the raider must take a breath, run into the opposing half, tag one or more members of the opposing team, then return to their home half before inhaling again. At the end of the game the team with the most points wins. Defenders may not cross the centre line (the "lobby") of the field and the raider may not cross the boundary lines.

However, there is one bonus line which can grant extra points for the raider if he manages to touch it and return successfully. Players who are out are temporarily sent off the field. Each time a player is out, the opposing team earns a point. A team scores a bonus of two points called a "lona", if the entire opposing team is declared out. Matches are categorised based on weight and age. Six officials supervise a match: one referee, two umpires, a scorer and two assistant scorers.

In the Indian variation of Kabaddi, there are four major forms of the game recognised by the amateur federation. In Sanjeevani Kabaddi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out one out. The game is played over 40 minutes with a five-minute break between halves. There are seven players on each side and the team that outs all the players on the opponent's side scores four extra points.

In Gaminee style, seven players play on either side and a player put out has to remain out until all his team members are out. The team that is successful in ousting all the players of the opponent's side secures a point. The game continues until five or seven such points are secured and has no fixed time duration.

Amar style resembles the Sanjeevani form in the time frame rule. But, a player who is declared out doesn’t leave the court, but instead stays inside, and the play goes along. For every player of the opposition touched ‘out,’ a team earns a point.Punjabi Kabaddi is a variation that is played on a circular pitch of a diameter of 22 metres(72 ft).

For those of us looking forward to playing Kabaddi, the best way to start is by understanding the rules of the sport. Its growth in the country should be immensely popularised to capture the talents despite it being a newly introduced sport in Kenya. Kabaddi encourages healthy exercises for the body, and the excitement and fulfillment of playing it. With Kenya's recent performances in the sport, it is no doubt that the sport is making considerable progress.

Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.





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