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History of Our Favorite Game Kho-Kho

12/12/2019 1:17:32 PM

Kho Kho is one of the most popular traditional sports in India. The origin of the game which most probably originated in Maharashtra is difficult to trace, but most historians believe, that it is a modified version of 'Run Chase', --a game which involved touching and running.  The game, highly popular among Marathi speaking people traces its inception to ‘Mahabharata’ where Kaurava General Guru Dronacharya created the ‘Chakravyuha’ a special military defensive circle which was eventually penetrated by the renowned warrior Abhimanyu who knew how to get in in but not out.  He inflicted heavy casualties amongst his enemies but was eventually killed. His style of fighting reflects the concept of ‘ring play’ – a defensive tactic in Kho Kho. The game during ancient times involved ‘raths’ and chariots and was appropriately named as Rathera.

Kho Kho like any other traditional Indian game is inexpensive, simple and highly enjoyable. Players, however, need to be physically fit, agile, possess quick reflexes, agile movement and alertness to successfully compete. The game develops team spirit, a sense of camaraderie, a strong sense of discipline and obedience. The game gained international recognition with 1st Asian Kho Kho Championship in Kolkata in 1996. The second championship held in 2000 added further luster to the game.

The Deccan Gymkhana of Pune founded by legendary Lokmanya Tilak tried to lend a sense of credibility and recognition to the game by inducing certain rules and regulations to make it more formal and therefore more acceptable.

Kho Kho is known as one of the most famous traditional games of South Asia. After India, this game has also got some fame in South Africa. Kho Kho is played by 12 players and it has evolved from the Indian sub-continent.

The Asian Kho kho Federation first came into existence in 1987 during the 3rd SAF Games in Kolkata, India. Additionally, the 1st Asian Championship was held at Kolkata in 1996. Countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Maldives also participated in the game. The second championship was played at Dhaka in Bangladesh.

The players need to follow the rules set by the federation according to which only nine players take to the field out of a team of twelve. Moreover, the match contains two innings with each inning consisting of chasing and running turns of 9 minutes each. This game makes children healthy because it improves their immunity and makes them physically fit. 

The word kho is derived from a  Sanskrit word named root syu- meaning "get up go". In this game there are two referees standing on the opposite sides of the field. Both of them carry a stopwatch with them and each of them are responsible for giving decisions on their opposite side of the field.

A match is of two innings. In the innings, each team gets seven minutes for chasing and other seven for defending. Eight member of the chasing team sit in a straight row facing each other. The ninth member is the one who starts the game.

The chaser tries to eliminate the opponent by touching the person with his hand. The runner try to play in seven minutes, with a target of not being touched by the chaser and not moving out from the boundaries.

Runners enter the chase area in batches of three which is also called rectangle. As the third runner is out and he leaves,the next batch of runners enter the rectangle.

Runners are considered “out” when they are touched by the chaser, they come out of the rectangle, or they come in the rectangle late .

The chaser can get any chasing-team member, sitting in squares of the center of the field, by tapping the chasers back and saying kho – kho so that the other chaser may run and catch the runner to win as soon as possible.

The first  tournaments were organized in 1914, and the first ever championship for kho – kho was dated on 1959 at Vijayawada under Kho-kho Federation of India (KKFI), which was formed in 1955.

KKFI made great efforts to spread the game worldwide, which is today played across India. Kho-kho was included as a sport at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. And at the South Asian Federation (SAF), Games in Calcutta (Kolkata),in 1987.

It was during the SAF Games that the Asian Kho-kho Federation was made, which later helped in bringing up  kho-kho in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.