Kho-Kho, a popular traditional sport of India, is based on the format of running and catching. The game is said to have originated in Maharashtra. In ancient times, the game was played on ‘raths’ or chariots, and was thus also known as Rathera.
Kho-Kho does not demand elaborate courts or equipment, but players have to be fit and exhibit strength, speed, stamina and agility.
A committee for framing the rules of the game was set up by the Gymkhana Poona in 1914, and the first set of rules on Kho-Kho was published from Gymkhana Baroda in 1924. In 1959–60, the first national Kho-Kho championship was organised in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
The game is played by 2 teams consisting of 12 players each. A match consists of two innings. One innings consists of chasing and running turns of 7 minutes each. Nine players enter the field—8 members of the chasing team sit in 8 squares on the central lane, alternately facing the opposite direction, while the ninth person is a chaser, who stands at either of the posts, ready to begin the pursuit. Members of the chasing team have to ‘put out’ an opponent by touching them with their palms. The defenders, who enter in the field in batches of 3, have to keep themselves ‘safe’ for the innings, while the chasers have to try to dismiss them.