Which is the traditional game of India which consist traits such as cooperation, devotion, keenness, self-esteem, speed and quick thinking? The answer is Kho Kho! This traditional Indian sport is more than a game. It is a personal development tool for the one who loves to take up the challenge. One can clearly say, Kho Kho is an inexpensive but highly enjoyable game.
The game is one of the most popular traditional sports in the country. Interesting fact about this game is: The position of the players sitting is random; one will never find the same set of players sitting in the same order as when the game starts. The game requires immense stamina and speed. There are many famous Kho Kho players in India who have taken this game to another level. So are you planning to start a new game? Why wait? Today, we bring you the perfect guide of Kho Kho.
Tracing the roots of Kho Kho
Kho Kho is a tag game of our country. Its roots are as old as epic Mahabharata, with plans and strategies likely derived from the epic itself. As the tale narrates, on the 13th day of the war, the Kaurava Guru Dronacharya planned the sole tactics ‘Chakravyuh’, a special military defensive plan broke by Abhimanyu. Unfortunately, he died as he had to fight alone against 7 warriors and he was badly injured. His style of fighting reflected the concept of ring play – a defensive tactic in Kho Kho. The game during age-old times involved ‘raths’ and chariots and was named as Rathera.
History of Kho Kho
The Asian Kho Kho Federation first came into existence in 1987 at the time of third SAF Games in India. The game gained international credit with first Asian Kho Kho Championship which was held in Kolkata in 1996. The second championship was held in 2000 which added further shine to the game. The Deccan Gymkhana of Pune also tried to lend a sense of reliability and recognition to the game by introducing certain rules and regulations to make it more formal. As a result, countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives also participated in the game.
Common terms in Kho Kho
Pole: A specially made wooden cylindrical construction, erected firmly at both sides of playfield.
Chaser: The sitting team who tries to catch the opponent team member who is running. Chaser sit-in square over cross lines with an alternative back.
Runner: The player of opposition who saves himself from being catch by the chaser.
Central lane: Two parallel lines from one pole to other.
Cross lane: The parallel lanes cutting central line at the middle of playing area.
Kho: The word Kho is actually a pass given by one chaser to another.
Early getup: When the sitting chaser gets up before getting a Kho.
Area of play
Talking about dimensions, the playground of Kho Kho is 29 metres long and 16 metres wide. At each end of the longer side of the rectangle it has two areas measuring 16 metres in length and 2.75 metres in width. Wooden pillar of 120 cm is located at the inner centre of the line of this rectangle as shown in the figure above. The perimeter of the wooden pillar is between 30 to 40 cm. There is one straight line on either side of the pillar.
There are 8 pairs of parallel lines between these two wooden pillar posts. Each pair of the line is 30 cm away from each other and 2.30 metres away from next pair. Coming to the equipment, the game requires two watches, whistle, measuring tape, boric powder and stationary to write results.
- Each team will have 12 players but only 9 of them can compete on the pitch.
- A standard match encompasses two innings.
- Each inning will have 9 minutes which includes chasing and running.
- The chasing team sits or kneels in the middle of the court in a row. Each player sitting next to each other will see on the opposite sides (in alternative direction).
- The chasers should end in the quickest time possible.
- The chaser will touch the nearest possible player on his/her back and say ‘Kho’ to give him a chance to chase.
- The team that takes the shortest amount of time to touch the player chased, is adjudged as the winner.
How to play Kho Kho
- Both teams will comprise of nine players. Before the game begins, two captains will have a toss. The toss winning team decide the either to defend or to chase.
- If the winning team decides to chase, they set up an eight member team to chase the opponent team in a span of 12 minutes. There will be two innings provided for both the teams.
- The game starts by chasing down the opponent with the help of team members in the straight direction. The defender should not cut the line or change the direction in order to avoid getting out or touched by the opponent. A chaser can give maximum passes (Kho) to his teammate while chasing. After 12 minutes, the team, which takes best quick time to touch the player chased wins the game.
Duties of Defender
Defenders must be quick enough. The defender should highly possess qualities such as flexibility and speed. Defenders must have a sufficient amount of reflex in the body because it allows them to change the direction to keep the game active in a real way.
Duties of Chaser
Chasers are the opponents of defender, whose aim is to touch the defender. It is recommended for every chaser to keep a close eye on his defender. This helps them to give a perfect pass (Kho) to their team member in order to touch the defender and bag points. It is essential to block the opponent in various ways to gain points in an easy manner.
Skills Required in Kho Kho
Judgment of direction is one of the foremost skills one must hone while playing the game. This skill proves how fast and attentive you are. You must be very responsive with your teammates. This is required while getting up from square. This game burns your calorie. One must run fast. It’s not just a relay, it includes a single chain running, zig-zag running and straight running.
Role of Referee
Referee must give a thorough look on the score sheets and playing area. Referee must coordinate with the umpires, in order to perform their duties well. If a player purposefully obstructs the conduct of the play or behaves in an ungentlemanly or mischievous manner, the referee can penalise the defaulting player. Referee can announce the warning by calling the chest number of runner or chaser and showing a Yellow Card. It shall be recorded by the Scorer-1 by marking the chest number in warning column. Referee can announce the ‘forbidden’ from the participation in future play in a similar way as a warning by displaying a Red Card.
Governing body of Kho Kho
The game’s primary sports body is known as the Kho-Kho Federation of India (KKFI). It has its branches in all the states and it has been conducting Mini, Junior and Open National Championships for both genders, in many parts of India.
Kho Kho Tournaments
There are many tournaments played in India namely, National Championships, National Women Championship, Junior National, Sub Junior National Championship, All India Inter University Championship, School Championship, Mini School Championship, Primary Mini School Championship and Federation Cup. As per some media results, after the success of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) in India, Kho Kho, another traditional sport from our country is set to get a league of its own this year.
Kho Kho Awards
There are special awards given for the players who show prolific performance in the game. Janaki Award is given to a girl (Under 18) for her stellar show in the game. Veer Abhimanyu Award is similar to Janaki Award but it’s awarded to a boy who comes under age of 18. The Karnataka government once recognised Ekalavya Award for the game. In 2008, Adarsha CP won this award.