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'Play kabaddi and live longer'

Balwan Singh says he knows the secret to good health, long life and happiness -- take up the obscure and little-understood sport of kabaddi.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2010 10:32 IST

Balwan Singh says he knows the secret to good health, long life and happiness -- take up the obscure and little-understood sport of kabaddi.

"Look at me, I'm 50 years old and I can hold my breath for three minutes," said the sprightly Singh, India's coach.

"You can live for 100 years playing kabaddi!" he added.

The sport, long dominated by South Asian countries, involves teams joining hands, holding their breath and raiding opponents, chanting "kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi" as they do so.

"You keep chanting kabaddi and your internal organs, your heart, your lungs will become strong," said Singh, whose India go up against Iran in the men's final on Friday.

"It will make you a happy and healthy person, you will never become sick."

Singh is not the first one to espouse the health benefits of the game.

Three of the 14 members of Japan's kabaddi team at the Asian Games are reportedly monks, while five others have graduated from a Zen Buddhist institute.

"Training in kabaddi makes our bodies stronger and healthier, while Buddhism meets our spiritual needs," said Japan's team leader Kokei Ito.