Kho-Kho is one of the most popular traditional sports in India and it is played quite extensively in the country. The game is a great test of the participants` physical fitness, strength, speed and stamina and it also requires a certain amount of ability on behalf of the participants. Though there is confusion about the exact timing of the inception of Kho-Kho and also about the origin of the game, many historians say that it is actually a modified form of `Run Chase`. In Kho-Kho, the participants simply need to chase and touch their opponents to win the game. In the ancient time, the game of Kho-Kho was played on `raths` or chariots in Maharashtra
and it was known as Rathera.
Kho-Kho is quite a simple, game, where the players do dodging, feinting and burst controlled speed to make this game quite thrilling. The main aim of the participants in the game of Kho-Kho is to catch by pursuit and to chase, rather than just run. The game is quite helpful in developing some great qualities like obedience, discipline, sportsmanship and loyalty between the team members.
Rules of Kho-Kho
There were no rigid rules and regulations for the game in the ancient times, the rules were framed in the beginning of the 20th century. A Committee was formed at Gymkhana Poona in 1914 for framing the rules of Kho-Kho and the first ever rules on Kho-Kho were published from Gymkhana Baroda, in 1924. According to the rules and regulations of Kho-Kho, each of the participating teams consists of twelve players, though only nine players take the field for a contest.
There are two innings in a match and an innings consists of chasing and running turns of 7 minutes each. One player of the chasing team play the role of an active chaser and the remaining eight members of the team sit in their eight squares on the central lane, alternately facing the opposite direction. The active chaser stands at either of the posts and gets ready to begin the pursuit. It is mandatory for the members of the chasing team to put their opponent out by touching them with their palms and without committing a foul. The defenders are actually the main active players in the game of Kho-Kho, as they try to play out the 7 minutes time, and the chasers keep on trying to dismiss them. In Kho-Kho, there are three ways through which a defender can be dismissed; 1) if an active chaser touches him with his palm without committing a foul, 2) if the defender goes out of the limits on his own or 3) if the defender enters the limit late.
Usually, the defenders enter the limit, in batches of three and after the third and last defender of batch is out, the next batch has to enter the limits, before a `kho` is given by the successful active chaser. The defenders are allowed to move on both sides of the central lane, however, the active chaser does not have the permission to change the direction to which he is committed. He is also not allowed to cross the central lane. An active chaser can only change his position with a seated chaser, by touching him from behind by palm, and uttering the word `kho` loudly. A chase or attack is also build up simultaneously through a series of `khos` as the chase continues with a relay of chasers. There is an interval of 5 minutes at the end of each of the innings and there is also a break of 2 minutes in between the turns. Each of the sides alternates their positions between chasing and defence.
There is no bar for the participants in the game of Kho-Kho and people from all age can participate in the game. The game can be played by men, women, and children of all ages and Kho-Kho does not require a lot of equipments to play. The game requires only a very small piece of evenly surfaced ground that is rectangular in shape, with dimensions of 27m by 15m and the only equipments required for Kho-Kho are the two poles. The time limit for the game is not more than 37 minutes. The first national Kho-Kho championship was organised in Vijayawada
, Andhra Pradesh
in 1959-60. The Indian Government has also initiated a number of honourable awards for the game such as the Arjuna Award, Eklavya Award for men, Rani Laxmi Bai award for women, Veer Abhimanyu award for boys under 18, and Janaki award for girls under 16.
Tournaments of Kho-Kho
There are a number of domestic tournaments of Kho-Kho organised in India and the tournaments include the likes of National Championships, Junior National, Sub Junior National Championship, School Championship, Mini School Championship, Primary Mini School Championship, National Women Championship, All India Inter University Championship and Federation Cup. The Kho-Kho Federation of India (K.K.F.I.) is the primary governing body of the game in India and it has its branches in all the states. The KKFI has been conducting Mini, Junior and Open National Championships for both men and women in almost all parts of India.