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When was the last time you thought of challenging your buddies to a game..

When was the last time you thought of challenging your buddies to a game of Kabaddi? Read on, these five reasons on its cool-ness might get you to make plans very soon..

1. It’s older than any other sport you know

Cricket is believed to have its origins in the 16th century, while an ancient Greek game of 388-311 BC is believed to have inspired modern day football. Kabaddi, on the other hand, as many scholars agree, has its roots in the Mahabharat, which could be dated to well over 4,000 years ago. What’s more, unlike contemporary sports such as hockey and cricket, which have evolved and changed much with time, the core concepts of Kbaddi have remained untouched with passing centuries. It was the warrior Abhimanyu who ‘raided’ the seven opponents in their yard then, and it’s pretty much the same now.

2. It costs less than any other sports you play

Remember that Mastercard commercial which listed expenses behind special events of life, such as ‘tickets to amusement park’ and ‘new shirt for dad’? If there were a Kabaddi version of it, it would list costs such as ‘equipment and gear – Rs 0’, and ‘cost of spotting perfect ground – Rs 0’ and end with ‘exhilaration on the players’ faces – priceless.’ It’s true – what does it take to begin a game of Kabaddi in your backyard? Zilch, shunya! As the many neighbourhood tournaments in Mumbai and Maharashtra have proven, the only costs that incur are of halogen lights (if playing at night), labour for the ground up-keep and first-aid back-ups. Probably less than a professional cricket bat or a pair of sports shoes!

3. It is mentally and physically challenging

Let’s hear another truth – kabaddi may be accessible and playable by everyone but it takes a lot out of you if you play it seriously or professionally. A single game of kabaddi, if your opponents are worthy competitors, can challenge your reflexes, motor skills, stamina, core muscle strength, agility and flexibility and speed! Not to forget, what you go through in-between your ears too is daunting, and in most games, strategy is everything! Some weeks from now, as the Pro Kabaddi League kicks off and if you happen to witness a live game, watch these factors closely!

4. It is played by more international countries than you think it is

You might assume the game of kabaddi or hu-tu-tu might only be popular in western India. The truth is, not only is it popular among young boys (and some girls too!) throughout the length and breadth of India (it is often called by different names in different regions), but it is also played actively by nations such as Italy, Great Britain, Norway, USA, Thailand, West Indies, Spain and Germany! Moreover, teams such as US, Japan and Malaysia have women’s squads too. Another fact – there are many ‘non-members’ of the International Kabaddi Federation who also have their national teams – they include Kenya, New Zealand, Argentina, Vietnam and more!

5. It is one sport India should remain awesome at

We might have been twice champions of the Gentleman’s game of cricket, but know that all it takes for us to be slightly embarrassed is one win-less test tour to England or Australia. Often during these times, jokes are made that ‘India must only play kabaddi’. Well, someone took that joke seriously a long time back and today we already have a formidable hockey history. We hosted and subsequently won the first ever Kabaddi World Cup in 2004 and have successfully introduced the game to Africa. Also, India is on top of the kabaddi playing nations as it has been instrumental in giving kabaddi the push in Asian Games (we won Gold right in the first edition in 1990) and holding the first World Kabaddi Championship in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Unlike England who introduced cricket to several Commonwealth countries it once ruled – only to get beaten at their own game, India’s is not the case! So the next time we finish tenth in a hockey world cup or Dhoni’s boys get whitewashed in an overseas test cricket series, remember we always have our own game to fall back upon!

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