Kabaddi is a popular contact sport that is native to India. It is played across villages, but there are several national and international leagues. The forms of Kabaddi played in India include Huttuttoo, Suranjeevi, Amar, and Gaminee. Among them, Suranjeevi is the most popular form. This article shares some of the most popular Kabaddi leagues in India and where they are played.
Pro Kabaddi League
The Pro Kabaddi League is a men’s professional league that was inaugurated in 2014. It had gone through eight seasons by the year 2022. The decision to start the Kabaddi men’s league was inspired by the 2006 Asian Games, where India had a good performance. This league plans to grow talents at the grassroots level and select them to take part in the World Cup and other international matches.
This professional league is structured on a franchise-based model. It started with eight teams but grew to 12 over the years. The format of the tournament is a double round-robin with playoffs. This gives the season winners, runners-up, third-placed team, and fourth-placed team for the league. With the four additional teams, the format split the teams into two divisions that were called “zones.” However, it reverted to the original double-round robin format after 2019.
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Kabaddi Senior Nationals
The Kabaddi Senior Nationals is a men’s championship competed in by 16 zones across India. It is organised by the Amateur Kabbadi Federation of India, which gives the players a chance to showcase their talents and attract the attention of the national team. The competition follows a double round robin format where the teams are initially put into pools of four competitors. Pool winners and runners-up then compete in play-offs and knockouts against pool winners from other pools.
The senior league, like the professional league, follows the Indian EPL format, in which teams score points to move up the table through various stages to the winner. The best players are given franchises in various leagues or are chosen for the national team. There have been 69 competitions since the league was inaugurated, making it one of the oldest competitions in the country.
There are two Kabaddi Federation Cups played in India: the all India Kabaddi Federation Cup and the junior boys’ and girls’ league. The junior league is meant to develop talent for the Junior World Kabaddi Cup that is held sometime after the competition. On the other hand, the seniors tournament has both men’s and women’s titles, where the leading talent is selected for the national team and different clubs that play the game.
Both leagues follow the Indian EPL format, although the junior league has a far larger number of teams at 14. Both league winners receive monetary awards in the first three positions. State governments manage the junior competition, while the Kabaddi Federation runs the senior competition. They are held each year and get wide coverage across the country.
Telangana Premier Kabaddi League
The Telangana Premier Kabaddi League is a professional tournament that is run like the football league. Unlike the national competitions discussed above, this one involves professional teams that earn points to determine their position on the table. The league is held in seasons until the ultimate winner is rewarded.
This league is supported by several corporate bodies, and the talent that stands out can be invited to join the national team. There are also sponsorship deals and cash prizes for the winners. The funds to run the league are also contributed by its sponsors and partners.
Women’s Kabaddi Challenge
This is a Kabaddi league in India that operates like the professional league but is meant for women. The league was inaugurated in 2016 and is spread across several cities in India. Three teams took part in the inaugural season across seven cities. The finals were scheduled to run alongside the men’s version in the same year.
Unfortunately, the women’s challenge was put on hold for years after the inaugural league in 2016. However, there are plans to have the games back in competition once the issues surrounding the running of the game are sorted. It is expected that the league could then be integrated into the Asian Games in the same category for women. It could also open new opportunities for female athletes to get sponsorships from the corporate world and enhance their brands.
World Kabaddi League
The World Kabaddi League is a professional competition played in league style in the United Kingdom, Pakistan, the United States, Canada and India. It was the first circle style league to take place on a world scale. The league comprises eight international teams that play in 14 cities across the participating countries. There are 144 players in the entire competition.
The regular season for the World Cup lasts four months. Then an elimination tournament will take place for the four top teams to determine the competition’s ultimate champion. The first league took place in 2014.
This competition has different rules from other leagues in that two teams of seven players face off for a competition of forty minutes, with each half taking 20 minutes. Team members take turns running across the centre line to the other half of the court, tagging the opponent players and running back to their side.
India selects players to take part in the world competition from the local leagues and competitions. The players may come from private or state-sanctioned leagues. India has always performed well in these competitions.
Kabaddi is a popular game in India. It comes close to cricket and football, which are common in the country. The game has several local competitions, but the ones listed above are the most popular in the country.