South Asian Games and Bonus Line

Table of contents

Kabaddi is aptly known as the “Game of the Masses “due to its popularity, simplicity, easy to comprehend rules, and public appeal. The game calls for no sophisticated equipment what so ever, which makes it a very popular sport in the developing countries. It is basically an out door sport played on clay court, of late the game is being played on synthetic surface indoors with great success. The duration of the game is 45 minutes for MEN & Junior Boys with a 5 minutes break in between for the teams to change sides.

The duration of the game is 35 minutes with a 5 miniutes break in between for Women, Girls, Sub-Junior BOYS and Sub-Junior Girls. Kabaddi is a combative team game, played on a rectangular court, either out-doors or indoors with seven players on the ground for each side. Each side takes alternate chances of offence and defense. The basic idea of the game is to score points by raiding into the opponents court and touching as many defense players as possible without getting caught on a single breath. During play, the players on the defensive side are called “Antis” while the player of the offense is called the “Raider”.

Kabaddi is perhaps the only combative sport in which attack is an individual attempt while defense is a group effort. The attack in Kabaddi is known as a ‘Raid’. The antis touched by the raider during the attack are declared ‘out’ if they do not succeed in catching, the raider before he returns to home court. These players can resume play only when their side scores points against the opposite side during their raiding turn or if the remaining players succeed in catching the opponent’s raider. Yoga, the Indian science to control body and mind through meditation and self-control . lays an integral part of Kabaddi. The raider has to enter the opponent’s court chanting the word “Kabaddi” while holding his breath and has to continue to do so until he returns to his home court. This is known as ‘Cant’, which is closely related to “Pranayama” of yoga. While Pranayama is about with holding breath in order to exercise internal organs, cant is the means to with hold breath with vigorous physical activity. This is perhaps one of the few sports to combine yoga with hectic physical activity.

The game calls for agility, good lung capacity, muscular co-ordination, presence of mind and quick responses. For a single player to take on seven opponents is no mean task, requires dare as well as an ability to concentrate and anticipate the opponent’s moves.

Techniques of Kabaddi Top Origin

The sport has a long history dating back to pre-historic times. It was probably invented to ward off croup attacks by individuals and vice-versa. The game was very popular in the southern part of Asia played in its different forms under different names.

A dramatized version of the great Indian epic, the “Mahabharata”. has made an analogy of the game to a tight situation faced by Abhimaneu, the heir of ‘ the Pandava kings when he is surrounded on all sides by the enemy. Buddhist literature speaks of the Gautam Buddha playing Kabaddi for recreation. History also reveals that princes of yore played Kabaddi to display their strength and win their brides! The game, known as Hu-Tu-Tu in Western India, Ha-Do-Do in Eastern India & Bangladesh, Chedugudu in Southern India and Kaunbada in Northern India, has undergone a sea chance through the ages. Modem Kabaddi is a synthesis of the game played in its various forms under different names.

Top Forms of Kabaddi Amar

Amar literally means invincible. This is a form of Kabaddi, which is played based -on points scored by both sides. The play field has no specific measurements and nine to eleven players constitute each of the teams. In this form of Kabaddi, there is no ‘out’ and . revival’ system or ‘Iona’ but time is the deciding factor. The main advantage of this form of the game is that tile players remain in the court through out the match and are able to give their best performance


This form of Kabaddi is played with nine players on either side, in a play-field of no specific measurements. The principle characteristic of this form of Kabaddi is that a player who is put out has to remain out until all his team members are put out. The team that is successful in putting out all the players of the opponent’s side secures a point. This is akin to the present system of ‘Iona’. After all the players are put out, the team is revived and the game continues. The game continues until five or seven ‘Iona’ are secured. The game has no fixed time.

The main disadvantage of this form of Kabaddi is that the player Is not in position to give his best performance since he is likely to remain out for the better part of the match until a Iona is scored.


This form of Kabaddi is the closest to the present game. In this form of Kabaddi, players are put out and revived and the game lasts for 40 minutes with a 5-minute break in between. The team consists of nine players on each side. The team that puts out all the players on the opponent’s side scores four extra points for a ‘Iona’.

The winning team is the one that scores the maximum number of points at the end of 40 minutes. The play field is bigger in this form of Kabaddi and the ‘cant’ was different in various regions. Modem Kabaddi resembles this form of Kabaddi a great deal especially with regard to ‘out & revival system’ and ‘Iona’. The present form of Kabaddi is a synthesis of all these forms of Kabaddi with a good number of changes in the rules and regulations.

Top the Game’s History

Kabaddi attained National status in the year 1918. Maharashtra was the pioneer state to bring the game to the National platform and give it further popularity.

Standard rules and regulations were formulated in 1918 but were brought out in print in the year 1923 and in this very year, an All India Tournament was organized at Baroda with these rules. Kabaddi has not looked back since then and numerous tournaments are organized all over the country through out the year. Kabaddi received its first Inter-National exposure during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, demonstrated by Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Amaravati, Maharashtra. The game was introduced in the Indian Olympic Games at Calcutta, in the year 1938.

It was in 1950, that the All India Kabaddi Federation came into existence. Regular conduct of National level championships as per laid down rules and regulations began with effect from the year 1952. After the formation of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India, the first men’s Nationals were held in Madras (now re-named Chennai), while the women’s Nationals were held in Calcutta in the year 1955. The rules were modified and some changes were introduced to the game during the National Championships held at New Delhi in the year 1954.

Efforts were made to demonstrate the game in the World Youth Festival held at Moscow in the year 1957, but due to various unforeseen reasons, this could not be accomplished. The game was included in the curriculum of the Indian University Sports Control Board as a main sports discipline in the year 1961. The game got further recognition when the School Games Federation of India included it in the school games in the year 1962. This body has taken up the responsibility of organizing state and national level competitions for school going children all over the country in various sports on a regular basis, every year.

The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India, the new body, came into existence in the year 1972. This body was formed with a view to popularize the game in the neighboring countries and organize regular National level Men and Women tournaments. After the formation of this body, sub-junior and junior sections were included in Kabaddi national level tournaments, as a regular feature. Kabaddi was included in the curriculum of Regular Diploma courses in coaching conducted by the National Institute of Sports, the premier institute to develop sports in the country with effect from the year 1971.

There after, qualified coaches in Kabaddi are being produced every ear. The neighboring countries, Nepal & Bangladesh also send I their coaches for the diploma course in various disciplines including Kabaddi, regularly. These qualified coaches are equipped to train players at different levels in a systematic manner with sports science back up. In the year 1974, the Indian men’s team toured Bangladesh as part of the cultural exchange program to play five test matches in different parts of the country.

The Bangladesh returned the visit in the year 1979 and played five test matches in India. The Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed in the year 1978, during the silver jubilee celebrations of National Kabaddi Championships in India, organized at Bhilai, Madhya Pradesh. The first Asian Championship in Kabaddi was organized in Calcutta, in the year 1980. A goodwill tour was organized in the year 1981 in which, the Indian men & women teams visited Thailand, Japan and Malaysia to play exhibition Kabaddi matches.

Federation Cup Kabaddi matches also commenced in the year 1981. Kabaddi was included as a demonstration game in the IX Asian Games hosted by India in the year 1982. In the year 1984, an open Inter- National tournament was organized at Bombay (now renamed as Mumbai), in India. During the Tri-Centenary celebrations of the city of Calcutta, an Inter-National Invitation Kabaddi Tournament was organized in the city. The South Asian Federation included Kabaddi as a regular sports discipline from the year 1984. Kabaddi was played for first time in the SAF games at Dacca, Bangladesh.

Since then Kabaddi is being included in every SAF Games, which is played every once in two years. For the first time in the Inter-National Kabaddi scenario, India faced defeat at the hands of Pakistan and had to be satisfied with second place, winning the silver medal, in the VI SAF Games at Dacca, Bangladesh, in the year 1993. The second Asian Championship was hosted by India and was organized at Jaipur, Rajasthan. Malaysia and Japan participated for the first time in this Championship. In the XI Asian Games held in the year 1990 at Beijing, China, Kabaddi was included in the main disciplines.

This was a major landmark in the history of Kabaddi. India won the Gold Medal, which was a proud and unforgettable moment for Kabaddi lovers who had strived to bring Kabaddi to the Asian platform. India has been the reigning champion in the succeeding Asian Games held in 1994 at Hiroshima, Japan and in the Asian Games held in 1998 at Bangkok in Thailand. An International Women Kabaddi tournament commenced in the year 1995, called the Nike Gold Cup, sponsored by NIKE, Japan. The III Asian Championship was hosted by Sri-Lanka in the year 2000.

For the first time, Sri-Lanka secured a silver medal, defeating Kabaddi stalwarts Pakistan, in this Championship. Kabaddi will be introduced to the African countries as a demonstration sport in the Afro-Asian Games, which is to be hosted by India in the year 2002. This is a feather in the cap for Kabaddi lovers and has been made possible thanks to the efforts of Mr. J. S. Gehlot, President, Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India and the Indian Olympic Association.

Top Development of the Game

There is a gradual but marked change in the style of the game during the past fifty years. What was once considered a game of brawn is not so now. The introduction of more techniques to the came has made it relatively easier for a player with more skill than weight to score points against better-built opponents. Over the years, the game’s pattern changed along with the rules and the size of the playfield. The concept of Kabaddi as an Indigenous Game of India first came up during the year 1921 in Maharashtra, when a certain framework of rules was prepared and the game was played on the pattern of Sanjeevani & Gemini in a combined form.

A special committee was constituted in 1923 which amended the rules. These rules were applied in an All India Kabaddi Tournament organized during the same year. It was the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Amaravati, Maharashtra, which took up the task of organizing and developing Kabaddi in a more systematic & scientific manner. This Institution believes in the maxim ” A healthy mind in a healthy body”, and has been doing yeoman’s service to sports in general and indigenous games in particular, over the years.

During the years 1927 to 1952, Kabaddi was played in different parts of the country based on rules framed by the various clubs and organizing committees, which mushroomed and gained in prominence. There were frequent disputes over the rules during tournaments owing to lack of uniformity in the rules and regulations followed in various parts of the country. In Maharashtra, the pioneering state to regularize the game and bring it to the National platform, Kabaddi, which was known as “Hu-Tu-Tu”, was played according to the rules framed by the Deccan Gymkhana from 1928 to I 938.

The introduction of the game to the Inter-national arena as a demonstration game in the 1936 Berlin Olympics led to the inclusion of Kabaddi in the list of priority games of the Indian Olympic Committee, in the year 1940. Thereafter, Inter-provincial Kabaddi tournaments were organized biannually. The matches at the district and provincial level were played as per the rules framed by the Akhil Maharashtra Sharirik Shikshan Mandal, while the Inter-Provincial Championships were based on Buck’s Rules , published by Mr. H. C Buck, Founder principal of YMCA College of Physical Education, Madras.

The Indian Olympic Games were re-named as National Games in the year 1952 and are since being organized once in a year instead of biannually. The All India Kabaddi Federation, which was formed in the year 1952 appointed a ‘Rules Sub-Committee’ with the express purpose of laying down standard rules and regulations to be followed by affiliated provincial units all over the country. A new set of rules were framed by the Rules Sub-Committee based on Buck’s Rules and the game rules followed till then by the Akhil Maharashtra Sharirik Shikshan Mandal.

The game’s pattern also changed over the years, along with the standardization of rules and regulations. Some of the major changes in the game’s pattern include the introduction of the Unproductive Raid Rule, Time Out system, Bonus Line Game, etc that did not change the basic structure of the game but all the same had a lot of impact. Some of the major changes that had an impact on the game are being elaborated in this chapter for the benefit of the readers.

Unproductive Raid Rule

The Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation at the behest of certain member countries introduced the Unproductive Raid Rule. The ‘rule reads as follows. “If in three consecutive raids by a side no point is scored by either side, the opponent’s will get a point. The referee shall immediately declare such point which is to be recorded in the running score sheet by cutting the number with a cross mark “X”. The counts of such unproductive raids shall not be carried over to the game after ‘Lona’, recess at half time and to extra time. “[Rules of Kabaddi Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation 1980]

As per the rule, in case no point is scored in three consecutive raids, the opponent’s side automatically gains a point. The referee is to immediately declare the point which shall be recorded in the running score sheet with the mark ‘X’. Though the score sheets records the scoring of a point, there is to be no revival of teammates as in the normal points scored. The idea behind the introduction of this rule was to make sure that the raider went all out to struggle and gain points in order to avoid the risk of giving away points to the opponent’s side through three consecutive unproductive raids.

However, it did not work out the way in which it was visualized, since the game lost some of its thrill and the scores did not reflect the true picture of the team’s performance. After practicing the rule for three years in the National as well as Inter-National level, it was unanimously decided by the Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation and the Amateur Kabaddi federation of India to cancel the rule. Now the rule is not in force at either the National or the inter- National level anymore.

Time Out System

The time out system has recently been introduced in the Asian and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India rules. Hither to, “Time Out” was allowed when called by the captain of the team, with the permission of the referee, only in the event of injury of a player, not exceeding two minutes. Even in such an instance, no player on either side was allowed to leave the court without the permission of the referee. The Time Out Rule reads: ” Each team shall be allowed to take two ‘time out’ of 30 seconds in each half. Such time out may be called by the captain/coach of the team with the permission of the referee. ” Any violation is committed by the player/s/coach; a technical point shall be awarded to the opponent team. Official time out: In the event of any injury to a player only, the referee shall call such time out. Such time out should not exceed two minutes. “

Bonus Line Game

The bonus line rule came into existence in the year 1978 as an out-come of some experiments conducted during a workshop organized by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India in the year 1976, to make the game more interesting. The Bonus Line is a line drawn parallel to the baulk line at a distance of one meter from the baulk line towards the end line.

The rule reads:

  • Bon-us Line should be drawn at a distance of one meter from the baulk line towards the end lines.
  • One point shall be awarded to the raider when he completely crosses the Bonus Line. If the raider is caught, he shall be declared out and the opponent shall be awarded one point. One point shall also be awarded to the raider for having crossed the bonus line first. In this situation, the raider shall be awarded first point.
  • The bonus line will be applicable when there are minimum six players in the court. The bonus point shall be awarded by the Referee/Umpire after the completion of the raid, by showing thumb upwards towards the side which scores.
  • There shall be no revival for bonus point.
  • The bonus point shall be marked in the shape of a triangle in the running score.
  • If the raider after crossing the bonus line reaches home court safely touching one or more antis he will be awarded one bonus point in addition to the numbers. ” It is further clarified that crossing the Bonus Line is not compulsory and this rule applies only when the raider crosses the bonus line before the struggle.

This rule makes the game more interesting since agile raiders can score points for their side without the risk of a struggle. A good defense is required to counter the raider’s move to cross the Bonus Line and as such, the defense will concentrate on the Bonus Line, which will make the playing area smaller and increase the game’s tempo. Without the Bonus Line, it is possible that both sides begin very cautiously and end up with zero or single digit points, which makes the match very dull and slow.

It is also possible that neither the raider nor the defense will take any risk, which will make the result of the match very predictable. This rule is being followed in the Kabaddi tournaments at all levels in India and efforts are being made to include the rule at the Asian Level. In the meeting of the Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation held during the SAF Games at Katmandu, Nepal 1999, it was decided that the Bonus Line Rule be adopted by all member countries on an experimental basis for competitions at National level so as to consider the inclusion of the rule in the next Asian Games 2002.

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