The game of Kho Kho took birth in rural India. It is so popular that every single corner of the country plays this game. Even though the exact origin story of this game is unknown, it is speculated that Shree Hanuman Vyayam Prasad Mandal of Baroda formulated the game. However, it was popularised by Akhil Maharashtra Sharirak Shikshan Mandalay in the year 1928 when they organized its tournament.
The Vijayawada district in Andhra Pradesh had the first honour of hosting the Kho Kho championship in 1956-1960. While it is usually played on a clay surface, nowadays a tetron surface is also very popular as it increases the pace of the players.
Kho Kho is typically a street game and most people have played it in their childhood. Yet, most of us fail to realise it is an actual tournament with properly written rules and regulations.
The essentials required to play Kho Kho
- Large open spaces (traditionally 27 meters by 15 meters)
- Two poles or sticks, these poles or sticks go at either end of the pitch and should be about shoulder height of the players.
- String or chalk (for marking out the perimeters of the play area)
- Traditionally, 12 players (but any number above six is fine)
The Rules of the Game
- A play area needs to be made out of chalk or string. Then the line is drawn right at the middle, cutting the field in half length-ways. A pole, stick or sweater is then put at each end of the central dividing line.
- The next part involves deciding teams. One team is the chaser and the other is the runner. This is decided by a toss.
- A team consists of 12 players in which two teams of 9 playing members play against each other alternately in four turns or quarters of 9 minute each.
- The team that is chasing takes a sitting position in the cross lane with opposite back in 8 squares and one player stands close to the pole Basically, chasers line up on the line at the middle, as they face alternate directions. They can only start their chase at the side of the pitch that they are facing to, and can only chase one at a time.
- The chaser near the pole starts and must try to tag one of the defenders on their side of the pitch, if a defender crosses the line to the other side, the chaser must tap the back of one of his teammates, who are sitting facing the other direction, and shout “Kho
- The defenders or runners enter in the field in groups of three and need to make sure that they aren’t tagged by a chaser. They can keep running anywhere within the playing area but they are out once the chasing team tags them.
- The defenders enter the field in groups of three and need to avoid being tagged by a chaser – they can run anywhere on the field, but they’re out if they get tagged.
- The chasing team can change their players every time the runner moves onto the opposite side of the pitch. Another way is that the chaser can run around one of the poles to get to the other side and then tag the runner.
- The main aim of the chasers is to tag out all the defenders as fast as possible. Whichever team manages to get all the runners tagged out in the shortest time is declared the winner.
- The points are only given to the chasing team when there is a proper touch. There two referees at the end of each pole on either side. They are the ones who are the final decision makers.
- An additional inning is played when there are equal points for both teams, and in such an innings the time to get one player tagged out is compared.
The Words Of Kho Kho
Chaser: This is the name given to the sitting team who tries to touch the opponent team members who are running
Runner: They are also called defenders and are the players of opposing team who save themselves from being touched by the chaser. They have to continuously dodge and make sure that they are not touched by the opposing team members or the chasers.
Cross lane: The parallel lanes cutting centre lane at the middle of the playfield.
Central lane: Two parallel lines from one pole to other.
Kho: The word Kho is spoken by one chaser to another.
Late-Kho: When active chaser delays in the touch for giving Kho to another.
Line-cut: When chaser cuts the square line cross lanes or centre lane during chasing opponent.
Changing the direction: When active chaser goes in the wrong direction against rules.
Early getup: When the sitting chased gets up before proper getting Kho.
Square: square shaped area by the cutting of centre lane and cross lane used for sitting of the chase.
Minus-Kho: A violation of directional fault in which the chased cannot make the running player out unless Kho is passed back to two teammates or touch to a pole.
Lobby: The free space area around the playing field.
Free zone: The area by the sides of pole lines in which the direction rule is not followed and a runner can move in any direction.
Pole: A specially made wooden cylindrical structure, firmly erected up at the sides of the playfield.
The action of touching chaser by hand after uttering the word ‘Kho’. Uttering any other word than ‘Kho’.
Turning of shoulder line more than a right angle to the direction an attacker is going.
Attacker recedes. Receding is decided on the rear foot.
An attacker gives ‘Kho’ by touching the extended arm or leg of a chaser.
An attacker touches Central Lane.
An attacker starts the chase with the foot outside the Cross Lane on one side but chases further on the other side.
The shoulder line of an attacker indicates a direction but is changed later on.
The ground of the Central Lane or other half is touched by any part of the body of an attacker
Also published on Medium.