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Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi: meet the Hong Kong girls smashing cultural stereotypes through this growing Indian phenomenon

South China Morning Post Andrew McNicol

Hong Kong women’s kabaddi team train at the Hong Kong School of Creativity in Kowloon City. Photo: Felix Wong

 “Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi,” chants university student Lily Hung Ka-lee as she cautiously approaches the opposing team’s half, showing that as the attacker – or “raider” – her breath is not being broken during her allotted 30 seconds.

This is just one of the several quirky rules-turned-traditions of the South Asian sport of kabaddi – conceived in India’s ancient Tamil region, now played by a group of 12 hardy girls in Kowloon.

“When I first started and we had to say ‘kabaddi’ when we raid or yell to distract others, it was weird but you learn to embrace it as a part of the sport – you’ll only really know when you play,” said Hung, a proud member of Kabaddi United Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s only kabaddi team.


Wyman Tang discovered the South Indian sport during his PhD. Photo: Felix Wong

Anthropology PhD student Wyman Tang Wai-man had just finished writing his thesis on South Asian culture in Hong Kong, specifically drug usage within the Nepalese community, when he discovered kabaddi.

 “I wanted to do something new and exciting, instead of the so-called divisiveness of cultures,” said Tang, looking on as the team drill sidesteps and leg grabs in one of their tri-weekly training sessions at the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in Kowloon Tsai.

Read the article in South China Morning Post

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