A brief history of India’s Men Kabaddi team


By any metric, the Indian National Kabaddi team is by far the most successful kabaddi national team in the world right now India thanks to her team of great players, I’ve won gold medals in the sport you know the Asian games that have been played.

It all began in 1990 in Beijing the Indian side also won all the World cups ever staged for kabaddi, a testament to the countries and during dexterity in the sport.

If you check historical records, you will find that both in the 1990 and 1994 Asian games, India defeated Bangladesh to win the gold medal.

Again, in the 1998 Asian games held in Thailand, Bangkok, the Indian side defeated its arch-rival Pakistan to win the fourth gold medal in a row.

The Indian team also defeated Bangladesh 4 years after.

Again in 2006, India defeated Pakistan to win their fifth gold medal.

In 2004 the inaugural version of the kabaddi World Cup was played and Indian won the inaugural edition by convincingly thrashing Iran by a 55-57 margin.

Three years later, the Indian team, once again, defeated the Iranians, 29-19, to win the Kabaddi World Cup.

For 9 years, the kabaddi World Cup was put on hold.

The tournament resumed in 2016 and the Indian side did it again.

The final match of the tournament was between the Iranian side and Indian side and it ended with a 38-29 margin, the Indian team being the victors.

The only time in recorded history that the Indian side has failed to win the gold medal during the Asian games was in 2018.

Just recently, there was some controversy surrounding the kabaddi World Cup played in Pakistan last year (2020) but more on that subject later.

The following players were on the roster for the 13th South Asian Games played in 2019.

Athletes like Deepak Niwas Hooda, an all-rounder, was the captain of the team while Pawan Sehranat was the Vice-captain. Pardeep Narwal, Naveen Kumar, Vikash Khandala, and Darshana Kadian all played as raiders.

Players like Nitesh Kumar, Amit Hooda, Sunil Kumar, Pravesh Bhainswad, Vishal Bhardinaj, and Surender Nadal were all defenders for the 2019 squad.

In 2018, the inaugural edition of the Dubai Kabaddi Masters was organized by the International Kabaddi Federation in conjunction with the Dubai Sports Council.

The opening match of the tournament, held in the United Arab Emirates for 9 days (22nd of June- 30th of June, 2018), was played between arch-rivals, India, and Pakistan.

The tournament was the first of its kind to be played in the UAE.

A quick word about the 3 styles of Kabaddi being played in the world, for the benefit of the uninitiated; there is circle kabaddi, beach Kabbadi, and National Style Kabaddi.

The Circle Kabaddi was demonstrated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics while the Beach Kabaddi was introduced in the Bali Asian Indoor Games in 2008.

National Style Kabaddi was introduced as a medal sport by Beijing ASIAD in 1990.

These 3 styles are played in different formats namely; Surjeevani, Gaminee, and Amar.

Sanjeevani Kabaddi is played under the Kabaddi Federation of India. This format is subject to the regulatory guidance of the KFI.

Gamine Kabaddi Format is peculiar because when it is being adopted, no players are revived.

Again, there is no time limit for this type of Kabaddi and when all the players are out, the game ends.

Finally, in the Amar Kabaddi Format, when a player is out, he won’t leave the court.

One point is awarded to the team that touches the player that’s out.

In other words, one point is given for each touch from the opposite side.

Now, back to the Kabaddi World Cup controversy of 2020.

According to an ESPN article, the Indian Kabaddi Team lost its grip in the Kabaddi World Cup played in Pakistan in 2020.

The Indian side lost 43-41 and it was such an achievement for the Pakistani side that even the Prime Minister had to tweet his congratulations.

But India’s Sports Minister, Kiren Rijiju asked the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) to investigate what he characterized as the Indian team’s unauthorized participation in the Kabbadi World Cup hosted in Pakistan.

For perspective, last year was the first time the Kabaddi World Cup will be hosted outside India.

In 2014, when India hosted the 5th edition of the Kabaddi World Cup, India won a close final 45-42 with a couple of close tv umpire calls going against Pakistan in the closing stage.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Captain and Raider, Shafiq Chishti alleged foul play, claiming among other things that his team was denied water at some point.

He went ahead to swear that he would never return to India to play and true to form, Pakistan stayed away from the 2016 edition held in Punjab.

In any case, all these controversies confirm the fierce tension between the Indian Side and the Pakistan Side.

However, Kabaddi pundits believe the controversy will soon peter out since the Indian team already admitted that they competed in an unofficial capacity, in a bid to participate in the 550th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.

According to Tribune News, Sikander Singh Maluka, the head of the [Indian] Punjab Kabbadi Federation, said that the visiting team had not been sent by India officially.

He went further to note that the PKF had sent them (Indian Side) the invitation for the tournament on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Maluka added “We replied that the relations between the two countries are not good at present, so we cannot send the national team. But since, the tournament had been held in the name of Baba Guru Nanak, so if any player wanted to participate in his capacity, we will not stop him”

In any event, lovers of Kabaddi in India have nothing to worry about since they’ll soon get the opportunity to contest for the Kabaddi Championship in the next standard-style World Cup.