Abbotsford Teams Dominate Annual Kabaddi Cup

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BURNABY – The annual Kabaddi Cup held by the Vancouver Kabaddi Club took place this past weekend at Swangard Stadium in front of thousands of die-hard fans.  Hundreds of professional and amateur athletes from around the world participated.  In the end the Abbotsford teams came up on top winning both the 155 pound class and the coveted Kabaddi Cup in the men’s open division.  The victory was very decisive as they beat Azad K.C by a demanding 15 points.

Kabaddi has a long history that goes back to pre-historic times.  Indian literature even documents the great Buddha as having played Kabaddi for recreation.  The first international exposure for this sport took place in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics but the game has only been made popular in the West in the past 25 years.  In the last World Cup of Kabaddi the USA, England, Australia, Italy, Spain, India and Canada were some of the participating countries.  Daniel Igali, the Olympic Gold medalist, was one of the stars for team Canada at the height of his career and participated in matches around the world including the many World Cups.  He is still remembered in the Punjab simply as “Toofan Singh” a nick name he earned meaning “Hurricane Singh” for his quick striking and escaping abilities.  He was a fan favorite and was embraced wherever he went.  In comparison, he could be called the Michael Jordan of Kabaddi.

Kabaddi requires a combination of strength, speed, agility and great wrestling skills.  Players take turns in tagging their opponent and returning to the starting area in a set time in order to score.  The defenders will attack and hold the attacker to tap-out submission, or until the time runs out to secure a point.  However, contact can only be made with one person at a time.  There is no “ganging up”.  Kabaddi is a sport that has excelled so much in the past few years that the players now will apply UFC submission moves to make their opponent give up.  Competition is so stiff that most competitors use weight training for strength and many can bench press around 400 lbs.  This is obviously reflected in the physiques of many who look more like bodybuilders than Kabaddi players.

The International Kabaddi Federations hopes to take this sport to the main stream in the West just as it has done in the East.  In addition to the big events there are many grand prix style tournaments held all over North America, Europe and India.  In the last World Cup, held in the Punjab, the price money for the winners was nearly half a million dollars.  Certainly this will entice many more to become participants or at least arouse the curiosity watch.