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Ultimate Kho-Kho League

Ultimate Kho-Kho League Logo

Kho-Kho is a popular Indian sport that has been played by many kids during their years in school. It was on the same level of popularity as Kabaddi. However, while the latter formed a professional league in 2014, nobody devised a tournament league for Kho-Kho. In fact, the Ultimate Kho-Kho League is the first professional kho-kho league to come into existence. It is especially popular in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Naturally, the talented hotspot was here.

However, over time, the popularity of the sport gradually diminished. The Ultimate Kho-Kho league was launched to revive its spirit and give a platform to talented individuals. It was launched on April 2, 2019. The league garnered the interest of many notable celebrities, owners of IPL teams, and prestigious people from the entertainment industry.

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    The Launch Of the Ultimate Kho-Kho League

    The Kho-Kho Federation of India is responsible for implementing the idea of the Ultimate Kho-Kho league. They collaborated with Amit Burman to bring their plan into action. Burman is the Vice Chairperson of Dabur India Ltd. It was an attempt on the league's part to bring back the once-popular game into the professional sphere. Specifically speaking, the league officially kickstarted this year, in 2021. The Federation was relieved as it happened after almost 10 months of legal paperwork. During the launch, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore graced the event with his presence. The Ultimate Kho-Kho league primarily came into existence as the collaborative parties wished to scale this indigenous sport to the forefront and elevate it to international standards.

    The league has also collaborated with Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) for broadcasting. They have signed a contract with them for five years. SPN currently allows the league to be watched in English and Hindi. However, it plans to make it available in all regional languages soon.

    The Inaugural Ultimate Kho-Kho Season

    The Ultimate Kho-Kho season was supposed to take place during 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the initial plans. It was rescheduled and supposed to start in 2021. Thus, there has been only one season so far. The inaugural season witnessed a total of ten teams on the battlefield (8 in men's and 2 in women's). It is supposed to have six franchise cities. This includes Bengaluru and Pune. The proclaimed teams were Ninjas, Jaguars, Frisky Rangers, Rhinos, Cheetahs, Panthers, Sharks, and Pahadi Billas. The Kho-Kho Federation of India is in charge of finalizing the teams, players, 2021 league schedule, and streaming platforms as well.

    The Ultimate Kho-Kho playing format

    If you think, the format of the Ultimate Kho-Kho league will be the same as your traditional game, you are highly mistaken. The authorities have modified certain aspects of the sports structure. This was done to raise the expectations of Kho-Kho fans, spectators and sports enthusiasts. Thus, it will be new as well as exciting.

    There will be a total of 15 players in each team. In this formation, two are supposed to be International players while two players should be minors. The authorities did not want to make the game long and complex. This is why they decided to remove two minutes of the original gameplay during an inning. This implies that nine minutes will not be allotted during each round. Instead of that, the players will get seven minutes each. In a two innings match, there are a total of four turns. Thus, the total time of gameplay will be twenty-eight minutes. The compact game is sure to keep everyone hooked to their seats and screens.

    There is also a twist regarding 'Wazir' in the Ultimate Kho-Kho league. They can run to their left or right during the game. However, as per rules, they cannot go beyond the centerline. This innovative format is sure to raise the thrill of the game. Besides this, both the men's and women's leagues followed a round-robin format. The men's league witnessed four matches with two each in Pools A and B (double round-robin). The Federation also implemented a review system, similar to that in cricket.

      The summary of every Ultimate Kho-Kho Season so far

      There has only been one season so far in 2021. A total of 8 teams performed. This includes Ninjas, Jaguars, Frisky Rangers, Rhinos, Cheetahs, Panthers, Sharks, and Pahadi Billas. Men's tournaments were played in two pools — A and B.

      In Pool A, the Ninjas faced an embarrassing defeat from Rhinos with a score of 32-37. Cheetahs faced Jaguars on the field where they established their supremacy by scoring 40 against 39. It was a very close call. Coming to Pool B matches, the Sharks were defeated by Frisky Rangers. The scoreboard read 36-40. Pahadi Billas and Panthers ended up in a draw match with 35 points each.

      There are teams called Panthers and Cheetahs in the women's league as well. During a fierce match between the two teams, the Panthers overthrew the Cheetahs by four points. The scoreboard read 13-9.

      Ultimate Kho-Kho Records and Stats

      The league witnessed their first winner of the season, that is Pahadi Billas. They won against the Panthers by six points in a fierce final match. Pratik Waikar, who hails from Maharastra was crucial for this win. The 25-year-old was also the Wazir for his team. He showed consistent good performance throughout the league. His teammates Nilesh Patil and Mahesh M also supported him throughout this. Nilesh proved his ability in the chase and Mahesh was very good with defence. On the other hand, Subhasish Santra of West Bengal and part of the Panthers team was an impeccable player as well. Regarding the women's tournament, the Panthers took the trophy home. They made an unbeaten record and secured nine points against the Cheetahs.

      Conclusion

      The Ultimate Kho-Kho league has successfully managed to revive the sport in the Indian subcontinent. It is also the first professional franchise of Kho-Kho. Although it has come into existence fairly recently, its impact has been huge. Both men's and women's tournaments garnered a decent amount of views. The authorities plan to elevate it to the international level soon.


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      Gian Chacko

      Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.