Kabaddi  .  Amar Kabaddi - by Taran Singhota

Amar Kabaddi (Punjab Style)

In the Amar form of Kabaddi, each team consists of 5-6 stoppers and 4-5 raiders. At one time, only 4 stoppers are allowed to play on the field. Every time a stopper stops the raider from going back to his starting point, that stoppers team gets 1 point. on the other hand, every time the raider tags one of the stoppers and returns to his starting point, his team gets one point. At one time, only one of the stoppers can try to stop the raider. If more than one touch the raider, an automatic point is awarded to the raider's team. If the stopper is pushed out by the raider or vice versa, then the team whose member is still in the field gets a point. If both the raider and the stopper go out, the result is a common point, where nobody gets a point. There is a 30 second time limit for the raider from the moment he leaves until he returns to his starting point. This rule was only recently introduced (1994) after controversy with some raiders abusing the old system where they were able to struggle through a point until they ran out of breath from repeating the word kabaddi. Some players used to continue on for more than a minute which was deemed to be unfair to other players including stoppers who were constantly tugged at for silly amounts of time.


The basic unwritten rule of kabaddi is that once you are caught and after a brief but unsuccessful attempt at breaking free, you give up and surrender the point to the stoppers team. The first point of the game is always worth 1 and a half points to avoid a tied game. This is why it is advantageous to win the toss at the start of the game. Whether it be the stopper who gets the point or the raider it is always worth that extra half a point. Usually made of 2 20 minute halves, this form of kabaddi can also be played in 10 or 15 minutes each, depending on the tournament organisers. It is played in a circle, with a line dividing the field into two halves.

This form of kabaddi is played in Punjab, Canada, England, USA, Scotland, Pakistan and Australia. The current world champions are Canada who defeated India in the final of the World Cup held in Toronto - Canada. There was an estimated 25 000 spectators packed in to the Guru Gobind Singh Stadium. In kabaddi dominated countries such as India and Canada it is played on a professional basis with top players earning up to $30000 for a 2 month season.

The player who has made most out of the game is Balwinder Phiddu, who started playing in 1975 and only recently retired after the 1997 World Cup. This large framed man considered a hero from Punjab to the rest of the world made vast amounts of money during his many travels for the sport predominantly being to England and more recently Canada. Since Phiddu, the most famous player has been Harjeet Brar from Bajjakhanna village in Faridkot, Punjab. Sadly, his life ended short when killed in a motor vehicle accident whilst travelling with three fellow players from Ludhiana to Chandigarh in February 1998. His death was a tremendous loss to the game as he reached his peak and was a virtual unstoppable raider with a number one player rating in the world.

A typical kabaddi year starts in Punjab in late November and continues on up until March at which point the season starts in Canada where the season is played until June. Then the season commences in England in July for two months and then players take a break for some time before they recommence playing in Punjab. Followers of the game can nowadays enjoy live radio commentary and Television broadcasts due to the wide-ranged sponsorship deals being offered in Canada and Britain from various companies.



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