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Kho Kho is a popular traditional sport in India. In ancient times, Kho-Kho was played on 'raths' or chariots and was known as Rathera. This game originated in the state of Maharashtra and for many years, was played informally until the Deccan Gymkhana Club of Poona formalized the game to make it more popular.
Like all other games, this game is simple, inexpensive and enjoyable. All one requires in this game is an even rectangular court measuring 29 meters by 16 meters and 2 poles. Two teams of 12 players each are formed. However, only nine players with 9 players enter the court and 3 are kept on reserve. While playing this game on the streets, children vary the number of players in each team depending on availability. The aim of the game is to tag all the opponents in the shortest time possible; the quickest team is declared the winner.
How to Play:
The game is played in 2 innings and each inning consists of chasing and running turns of 7 minutes each. 8 members of the "chasing" team take position 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. Now defenders enter the limit, in batches of three. All the action in Kho-Kho is provided by the defenders who try to play out the 7 minutes time, and the chasers who try to dismiss them. An ‘active chaser’ can change position with a ‘seated chaser,’ by touching him from behind, and uttering the word "'kho" loudly. A defender can be dismissed in three ways: 1) if one is touched by an active chaser’s palm without committing a foul, 2) if one goes out of the limits 3) if one enters the limit late. 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.
This game helps in building physical fitness, strength, speed and stamina. It also develops qualities such as obedience, discipline, sportsmanship, and loyalty between team members. The game is interesting because the position of the players sitting is dynamic; one will never find the same sequence of players sitting in the same order as when the game starts.