The traditional Indian sport of Kho Kho, which already has an official league launched to revamp the indigenous sport, now gets an exciting format that will not only give a new look to the game but will also, help to popularize it.
The franchise-based league called ‘Ultimate Kho Kho’ has been proposed to be organized in the month of November this year.
The new avatar of Kho Kho has been designed to be exciting and fast-paced filled with high-octane action. To make it more compact, action-oriented and energetic, two minutes have been waived off from the original 9 minutes of play in an innings and the duration of each turn will now be of 7 minutes in the new format bringing in more strategic game-play. With 4 turns in 2 innings per match, the 28 minute-match promises to keep the spectators on tenterhooks.
The most interesting feature of the matches will be the introduction of ‘Wazir’ who is free to run either left or right in the wing but cannot cross the centre line and will have to always get a perfect Kho otherwise he will get a foul. Wazir is being considered as the trump card that a team can use to benefit more points and attacks.
Talking about this innovative idea, Mr Sudhanshu Mittal, President, Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) said, “We brought in the concept of Wazir to make it more modern, more exciting, and more youth-friendly. We are very confident that people will enjoy this new approach and style that this traditional sport will dawn.”
In an attempt to capture the attention of sports lovers in its very first season, the television saleability has been given a lot of importance, which necessitated the tweaks in the format. The new additions and the shorter and more fan-friendly format will help the league make its mark right from the start.
“In a world of instant gratification, short attention spans, innovation is the key and viewers must see the value that your game is worth investing time., Brands are seeking impact sports to target consumers and Ultimate Kho Kho stakeholders and partners will be benefitting from the new format which is unique and will help to build a cutting edge product and revamp the indigenous game of India,” said Tenzing Niyogi, CEO Ultimate Kho Kho.
The scoring too has been spruced up to cut down on one-sided matches. Scoring of the matches will now be closer with tighter finishes.
There has been a basic restructuring in the points system as well to make the action livelier and more suspenseful. Now every Skydive (Players dive to become airborne to tag the defender) will fetch additional 1 point and so will Pole dives. Regular Tags, however, stays the same and gets the team one point.
“We have a vision and the idea is to revolutionize the sport and spread it to every corner of the country and inspire more people to take up Kho Kho which is one of the most indigenous sports of India that transcends time. As a promoter, we are here to do whatever is required to build a successful sports league,” said Amit Burman, Vice Chairman, Dabur Foods and Promoter of Ultimate Kho Kho.
“We are hopeful that Ultimate Kho Kho will usher in a new era of the sport and be the game-changer,” he added.
Kho Kho will be an exhibitional sport at the upcoming 2022 Asian Games and the league will give the Indian players the perfect platform to hone their skills and test themselves against the world’s best in a tough competition which will see eight teams vying for the title.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rajeev Mehta, Chairman, Kho Kho Federation of India & Secretary General, Indian Olympic Association said, “With the advent of Ultimate Kho Kho, the talented Kho Kho players of India will get the much-needed exposure and attention they deserve as the league looks to revolutionize the traditional sport with the introduction of this new format.”
Keeping in tune with the changes, instant replacement of defenders have also been introduced. Review system per inning will also be in place for the very first time where each team is allowed 2 referral opportunities in every inning. With each unsuccessful review, the opponent team will bag 1 point.
“As a federation, we are very confident that this will be a player-oriented and fan-friendly league with huge scope and it will surely help to unearth more Kho Kho talent from all corners of the country,” said Mr. M. S. Tyagi, General Secretary, Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI).
15 members will make up every team out of which two will be international players and two under-18 players, clearly showing on how the league aims to develop the sport at the grassroots.