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Kabaddi shows the joy of sports

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-25 14:42
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Kabaddi shows the joy of sports

The best way to rekindle one's passion for sports is to play a new one. Or at the very least, watch a new one.

This Asian Games has provided Guangzhou residents - and sports journalists alike - with plenty of opportunities to sample the more arcane sports that originated from this multi-cultural continent.

For example, there is kabaddi. To many sports fans, the very objective of the India-originated sport seems ludicrous: trying to tag your opponent while chanting "kabaddi" non-stop.

One does not need to chant the name of the sport while playing. And the act of tagging your opponents makes kabaddi seem like an easy playground game, unlike a golf swing which requires plenty of refining for perfection.

But all preconceptions of the sport would be thrown away if one simply takes the opportunity to watch it.

The sport is not as simple as merely tagging opponents for points. After a "raider" tags one of as many as six rivals in the opposing half, he must dash back to his own half - escaping the clutches of all his opponents - before he wins a point.

Easier said than done. The opponents will take the raider down using rugby-like tackles. Try having six burly men take you down, and you can understand the need for explosive dexterity to elude their grasps.

So, strategy is paramount for the raider, who needs to plan a quick escape route back to his half, while trying to surprise his opponents with a sudden tag.

And the very act of chanting "kabaddi" has a practical use in the sport. It acts as a timer for every raid, as the raider has to hold his breath when chanting.

Upon understanding the sport, it becomes an exciting showcase of dexterity and cunning, and no longer seems ludicrous.

Watching the kabaddi players compete with absolute seriousness, sweating bullets in their quest for victory, makes one realize that the joy of sports is less about winning and more about the act of trying to win.



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