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Pro Kabaddi Best Match to Watch

Suresh Iyer
February 9, 2022, 13:20
Pro Kabaddi Best Match to Watch

In this article, we discuss the origins of Kabaddi, its increasing popularity, and the variants of the international sport, as witnessed in various editions of the World Cup and the Asian Games. Most importantly, we seek to answer the question, which is the best kabaddi match to watch.

Origins of Kabaddi

Kаbаddi is a sport that’s native to India. It’s no surprise, then, that Indians play the game better than people in other nations, making every game the best kabaddi match to watch. Like wrestling and rugby, Kabaddi calls for a combination of skill and power.

A game devised over 40 centuries ago to help develop individuals’ ability to defend themselves, Kabaddi is becoming increasingly popular every day across India. A part of its appeal lies in the fact that people do not need a big play area or expensive equipment to play Kabaddi. Originally played on a clay surface, the sport is commonly played on a synthetic surface, these days.

The Spread of Kabaddi’s Popularity

Thanks to its subcontinental origin, Kabaddi has been accessed and learned by India’s neighbouring nations. In recent years, players from various other Asian countries have mastered the sport. Besides Indians, people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Iran, Oman, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, China, and Nepal, among others, play the sport. The popularity of the sport has spread even further to such places as New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, Italy, Kenya, and Scotland. In fact, Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh where it is played on all festive occasions, again making every game the best kabaddi match to watch.

Top 10 Teams Ranked by the International Kabaddi Federation
Rank Team
1 India
2 Iran
3 Pakistan
4 South Korea
5 Bangladesh
6 Sri Lanka
7 Kenya
8 Nepal
9 Thailand
10 Indonesia

Variants of International Kabaddi

International Kabaddi events have been held in two formats, namely, (a) Standard Style and (b) Circle Style.

Stаndаrd Stylе

In this international variant of the game, each team comprises of seven players. Once a raider tags a defender, the defender is permanently eliminated. The game ends when all of a team’s players are eliminated. The first World Cup employing the standard style was held in 2004. Thereafter, three more such World Cup events have taken place in 2007, 2016, and 2022. India have won all four events. While Iran finished second in the first three world cups of this format, Iraq lost to India in the title clash of the 2022 edition. India, Iran, and Bangladesh are the three top-ranked teams, while Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and Canada are joint-fourth in the rankings.

Сirсlе Stylе

Prevalent across India, the circle style of Kabaddi is also becoming popular across the world. This style comprises of the Sanjivani and Gaminee variants. In the Sanjivani variant, an eliminated player of a team can return to the mat after a rival player has been outed. According to the Gaminee variant, an eliminated player cannot return until all other players of his side have been outed. The rest of the rules are similar to those of the Standard Style.

Important Intеrnаtiоnаl Kabaddi Соmреtitiоns

The International Kаbаddi Federation (IKF) has conducted the Kabaddi World Cup (Standard Style), the sport’s biggest event, thrice, in 2004, 2007, and 2016. India emerged victorious in all three editions.

The Government of the Indian state of Punjab has conducted the Kabaddi World Cup (Circle Style) every year — except 2015 — since 2010. India have won the men’s events in all years except 2020 when Pakistan emerged victorious.

                              Kabaddi World Cup (Standard Style) Men’s Event
Year Venue Gold Silver Bronze
2004 Mumbai India Iran Bangladesh & Canada
2007 Panvel India Iran Bangladesh & Japan
2016 Tokyo India Iran South Korea & Thailand

In 1951, Kabaddi made its first appearance in the Asian Games, as a demonstration sport. But the world had to wait for 31 years before witnessing Kabaddi in the Asian Games when India hosted the competition in 1982. Eight years later, Kabaddi became a main event at the Asian Games. Barring 2018, when Iran won the event, relegating India to a bronze medal finish, India have won the men’s gold medal in Kabaddi in all other editions since 1990.

                             Asian Games Kabaddi (Standard Style) Men’s Event
Year Venue Gold Silver Bronze
1990 India Bangladesh Pakistan, China, Japan, Nepal
1994 India Bangladesh Pakistan & Japan 
1998 India Pakistan Bangladesh & Sri Lanka
2002 India Bangladesh Pakistan & Japan
2006 India Pakistan Bangladesh & Iran
2010 India Iran Pakistan & Japan
2014 India Iran South Korea & Pakistan
2018 Iran South Korea Pakistan & India

Domestic Kabaddi Competitions in India

India’s best domestic Kabaddi competition is arguably the Pro Kabaddi League in which franchises from various Indian states vie for honours. The league has brought the sport mainstream attention on Indian television. India also has some other quality Kabaddi tournaments, including the Super kabaddi league, Kabaddi Masters, and the Indо International Рrеmiеr Kаbаddi Lеаguе.

                Pro Kabaddi League Winners List


Year Winning Team
1 2013 Jaipur Pink Panthers
2 2014 U Mumba
3 2015 Patna Pirates
4 2016 Patna Pirates
5 2017 Patna Pirates
6 2018 Bengaluru Bulls
7 2019 Bengal Warriors


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