The history of Kabaddi dates back to the pre-historic times. In Hindu mythology, the dramatised version of the Hindu epic Mahabharata
had a unique talent in the game of Kabaddi. Historians find resemblance with the technicalities of Kabaddi with a situation in the great battle of Mahabharata, where the warrior Arjuna`s son Abhimanyu is trapped in the `Chakravyuha` set by his enemies of the war. According to the Buddhist literature, Gautama Buddha
played Kabaddi for recreational purposes. In India, Kabaddi was primarily played as a way to develop the physical strength and speed in young men.
Kabaddi is also known as Hu-Tu-Tu in Western India, Ha-Do-Do in Eastern India and Bangladesh, Chedugudu in Southern India and Kaunbada in Northern India. Modern Kabaddi is played in different forms and is widely popular in different parts of India. Kabaddi was given the national status of a game in India in 1918. Standard set of rules and regulations for the game were formulated in the same year. However, the rules and regulations were brought to print in 1923.
Kabaddi received international status during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The game was introduced in the Indian Olympic Games at Calcutta in 1938. In 1950 the All India Kabaddi Federation came into existence. The first men`s national tournament was organized in Chennai
in 1955, while the women`s nationals were held in Kolkata
. In 1961, the Indian University Sports Control Board (IUSCB) included the game of Kabaddi in its curriculum, as an important sports discipline for the students. In 1962 the game was introduced as one of the important games in the school by the School Games Federation of India (SGFI). In 1971 the National Institute of Sports (NIS) included Kabaddi in the crrriculum of Regular Diploma courses. The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) was founded in 1973. The Asian Kabaddi Federation was founded under the chairmanship of Mr. Janardan Singh Gehlot.
The Asian Kabaddi Championship was organised in 1980 where India emerged as champion and Bangladesh runner-up. In 1985, the Asian Kabaddi Championship was held in Jaipur
, India. Kabaddi
was included for the first time in the Asian Games in Beijing in 1990 where India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh took part, where India emerged as victorious. India completed its hattrick of winning Asian Games gold in Hiroshima in 1994, Bangkok in 1998 and also won gold for a fourth time in Busan Asian Games, 2002. India won the gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games at Doha.
The popularity of the game has increased manifold over the passing years, from a popular game in the rural India to a sport recognized at the national level. A number of championships have been organised for Kabaddi both at the national and international level, where the Indian national Kabaddi team has delivered commendable performances. The introduction of Federation Cup Kabaddi matches in 1981 is a milestone in the history of Kabaddi in India
. In 2004, India hosted the first ever Kabaddi World Cup in Mumbai and lifted the trophy.