Kho kho is a tag sport from the Indian subcontinent. It is played by teams of twelve players, of which nine enter the field, who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team. It is one of the two most popular traditional tag games of the South Asia, the other being kabbadi. Apart from the South Asia, it is also played in South Africa.
Asian Kho Kho Federation was established in the year 1987 during 3rd SAF Games, held at Kolkata, India. The member countries were India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives. The first Asian championship was held at Kolkata in 1996 and the second championship at Dhaka in Bangladesh. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Japan, Thailand and Bangladesh were participants of the championship. When the first game was played, though many historians say that it is actually a modified form of `Run Chase`. In the ancient era, a version of the Kho-Kho game was played on `raths` or chariots in Maharashtra. This was known as Rathera. In ancient Kho-Kho history, there were no rigid rules and regulations for playing the game. The Kho-Kho rules were first framed in the early 1900s. A committee was formed at Gymkhana Poona in 1914 for framing the Kho-Kho rules and the first ever book of Kho-Kho rules was published from Gymkhana Baroda, in 1924.
Rules, field dimensions and equipment used
Each team consists of 12 players, but only 9 players take the field. A match consists of two innings with each inning consisting of chasing and running turns of 9 minutes each. One team sits/kneels in the middle of the court, in a row, with adjacent members facing opposite directions. The runners take to the field, 3 at a time and the team that takes the shortest time to tag/tap all the opponents in the field, wins. There is a pole on each end and the runner can go between two players who are sitting in zig zag manner, but the chaser is not allowed to turn back while running and go between the players. But chaser can go to pole and touch it and can go back or go to other side.
Schematic representation of a kho-kho pitch
A kho kho playground (or pitch) is rectangular. It is 29 metres in length and 16 metres in width. There are two rectangles at the end. Length of the rectangle is 16 metres and the width is 2.75 metres. In the middle of these two rectangles, there are two wooden poles. The central lane is 23.5 metres long and 30 cm width. There are eight cross lanes which lie across central lane, length of the cross lanes, are 16 metres and width 30 cm. It makes the small rectangles and each of it is 16 metres in length and 2.3 metres in breadth,(the two rectangles of near by the wooden poles are 2.5 metres width) at right angles to the central lane and divided equally into two parts of 7.85 metres each by central lane. At the end of central lane, the free zone tangent to the post-line, two smooth wooden posts are fixed, 120 cm height from the ground and their circumference is not less than 30 cm and not more than 40 cm they have so many tricks in running like double chain, single chain, dogging and ring game as well as in chasing like dive, pole dive, fake kho etc.
The equipment used in kho kho are poles/post, strings, metallic measuring tape, lime powder, wire nails, two watches, types of rings having inner circumference of 30 cm and 40 cm, score shots (like a whistle, for instance), and stationery to write results.