Two players (boli) playing Boli khela in Chittagong
|Country of origin||
|Famous practitioners||Didarul Alam, Marma Singh|
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Boli Khela or Bali Khela (Bengali: বলীখেলা) is a traditional form of wrestling in Bangladesh, particularly popular in the Chittagong area considered as a national game of the district. It is a form of combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. It is one of the oldest traditions of the Chittagong. The sporting event, held in the first month of the Bengali year, always takes place at Laldighi Maidan.
Boli means wrestler or a powerful person in Bengali, while Khela denotes a game. So, Boli Khela means game of the powerful person.
Boli Khela was introduced in the early 20th century by Abdul Jabbar Saodagar. His desire was to cultivate a sport that would prepare the youth to fight against British rule which is a self-defense without weapons. It was started in 1907. Broad appeal for the sport began at the end of the First World War but subsided at the end of the Second World War.
The arena is either a circular or square shape, measuring at least fourteen to twenty feet across. Rather than using modern mats, Boli wrestlers train and compete on dirt floors. Match started in a sandy wrestling ground. Each year, Boli Khela attracts new participates and fans because the sheer enjoyment of the sport is not only contagious for local enthusiasts but inspires tourists to Bangladesh an opportunity to get a glimpse of an exciting and unique event. Fans of many countries come every year to see Boli khela.
The event starts at afternoon in a festive mood with the music of 'Dabor' (one kind of folk drum)and 'Sanai' (folk flute). Each match lasts about 25–30 minutes but if both competitors agree, the length of the final match may be extended up to 10–15 minutes.
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