Not long ago, in a time before the smartphones snatched away the playground, kids collectively used to enjoy a gamut of small field games. The competitive matches of cricket and football occupied much of the playing field, leaving only small pockets of intermittent spaces. But those spaces were never left empty as they were ideal for ancient Indian games like Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, and Gilli-Danda.
With time, most of these games faded away, but few remained. Kabaddi got its big push with the Pro Kabaddi League, making it a global phenomenon. Fortunately, though, that’s not the only sport gaining momentum in the international circuit. Lagori, an energetic game that got the youth pumping back in the day, will be played in 2 mammoth events this year!
Lagori- History and Introduction
Lagori is an ancient Indian sport that is being played since the last 5000 years. Ancient manuscripts reflect that fact, and thus this game has enthralled people since 5 millenniums! It is a very simple sport where people from all ages can participate without the threat of injury.
Ideally, an open space is chosen and 7-9 flat stones are placed on each other, forming a pyramid. The pile of stones indicates the center of the field and 2 teams stand on either side of it. The attacking team starts the game by directly shattering the stones using a ball. As the ball bounces off and travels across the field, the team quickly gathers and tries to pile up the stones again.
The defending team, simultaneously, tries to fetch the ball. Once that is done, it is thrown at the attacking team’s players who are eliminated from the field if they are hit by the ball. If the pile is complete before all the members are out, the attacking team gets the game. And if the pile is left incomplete and all the attacking players are eliminated, the defending team gets the game. Several sets are played to decide the winner.
Modern day Lagori
It is a matter of great pride that Lagori is played by 30 nations across the globe. It is known by several names with changing territory but the unadulterated joy that the game brings remains constant. Without anyone noticing, the game has gained considerable prominence and it is only a matter of time before we witness a global phenomenon.
India, the place where Lagori originated, is the epicenter of the game’s development on a bigger stage. The Indian Lagori Premier League, being held in November 2017, has already gathered great momentum. The Lagori World Cup too will take place this year and several nations including India, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Turkey and Sri Lanka will go toe to toe for a shot at international glory.
Modern Day Rules-
From an open field with a dusty turf to a synthetic indoor facility, from a pile of flat stones to 9 circular fiber discs and from a worn out tennis ball to reduce impact to a softball specifically made for Lagori- the game has changed a lot over time! Here are the 6 fundamental rules laid down by the International Lagori Federation-
- Each team must have 12 players. However, only 6 players get to play on the court for every set.
- One set lasts for 3 minutes and a 30-second break is given right after each set
- A Lagori match has 3 sets and the team accumulating maximum points wins.
- The ball can be caught with a single hand or both hands
- No player is allowed to run with the ball
- After knocking it off, the pile of 9 discs has to be re-arranged in the same pyramid chronology.
Surely, the frequency of the game being played has dropped in the past decade, but with the inaugural World Cup in 2015 being a success and with the ILPL catering to larger audiences, Lagori is certainly going through a revival. Hopefully, it can emulate what Kabaddi has able to achieve. Hopefully, the kids of this generation will embrace the game and enjoy it to the fullest, taking it where it belongs to- the playground!
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