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Kho Kho (கோ கோ)

History

Kho-Kho ranks as one of the most popular traditional sports in India. The origin of Kho-Kho is difficult to trace, but many historians believe, that it is a modified form of 'Run Chase', which in its simplest form involves chasing and touching a person. With its origins in Maharashtra, Kho-Kho in ancient times, was played on 'raths' or chariots, and was known as Rathera.

Like all Indian games, it is simple, inexpensive and enjoyable. It does, however, demand physical fitness, strength, speed and stamina, and a certain amount of ability. Dodging, feinting and bursts of controlled speed make this game quite thrilling. To catch by pursuit - to chase, rather than just run - is the capstone of Kho-Kho. The game develops qualities such as obedience, discipline, sportsmanship, and loyalty between team members.

The rules of the game were framed in the beginning of the 20th century. At Gymkhana Poona, a Committee was formed in 1914, to frame its rules. The first ever rules on Kho-Kho were published from Gymkhana Baroda, in 1924. In 1959-60, the first national Kho-Kho championship was organised in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh). The Government has initiated the following awards for the game: 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.

Kho Kho is one of the most popular sports in India, and can be played by men, women and even children. It is essentially a version of tag, which endows it with a few qualities—it is both simple, and inexpensive—that make the game as enduring as it is endearing.

How to Play
 
  • Kho Kho is played in 2 teams of 12, in a field that measures 27 m by 15 m, but only nine players take the field for a game or contest.
  • A match consists of two innings. An innings consists of chasing and running turns of 7 minutes each.

  • Start with 8 members of the "chasing" team sitting or kneeling in a row in the middle of the court in their eight squares on the central line, alternately facing the opposite directions. Two wooden poles stand at either end of this central line. The ninth player is the "chaser," and he takes his position next to one of the two poles, ready to begin the pursuit.

  • The opponent team enter the field, in batches of three are called defenders. These defenders, or dodgers, try to play out the 7 minutes time, and the chasers who try to dismiss them within that time.  A defender can be dismissed in three ways: 1) if he is touched by an active chaser with his palm without committing a foul, 2) if he goes out of the limits on his own, 3) if he enters the limit late.

  • Chasers run in one direction around the centre line where 8 members are sitting and cannot run in reverse course, and also cannot cut across the central line of sitters, even though the dodgers may run wherever they like. Chasers have to run around the entire line (row).

  • An active chaser can change position with a seated chaser, by touching him from behind (whose back must be facing you) by palm, and uttering the word 'kho' loudly, and simultaneously, chase or attack is build up through a series of 'khos' as the chase continues with a relay of chasers.

  • After the first set of 3 defenders is caught, the next batch of 3 is sent onto the field.

  • At the end of the innings there is an interval of 5 minutes and an interval of 2 minutes, in between the turns. Each side alternates between chasing and defence.

  • Kho-Kho can be played by men, women and children of all ages. The game requires a very small piece of evenly surfaced ground, rectangular in shape, and 27m by 15m. The only equipment required are the two poles. The game lasts not more than 37 minutes.

  • A match consists of 2 innings. An inning consists of chasing and running turns of 9 minutes each. Each side alternates between chasing and defense.

  • The objective is to tag all the opponents in the shortest time possible; the quickest team wins.