Dabur India vice-chairman Amit Burman has collaborated with the KKFI to support and develop the league.
Sharing his vision for the league, Burman said, “Ultimate Kho Kho will be a professionally structured league with eight participating franchise teams that will be owned by a mix of corporate houses and celebrities. Each team will have a combination of players including Indian and international players from two age categories of under and above 18.”
Rajeev Mehta, Chairman, KKFI and Secretary General, IOA, expressed his delight at India’s indigenous sport making a giant professional leap. “It is a moment of joy and pride for all of us to announce the launch of the Ultimate Kho Kho League. Our aim is to restore the glory this sport has seen in our country and we look forward to receiving the support from sports lovers from across the country,” he said.
The Kho Kho Federation of India is working extensively, with support from the Indian Olympic Association, towards making the sport popular with the country’s youth.
“Ultimate Kho Kho is an initiative to bring the sport to the forefront and make it the most sought-after league for a home-grown sport in India. The league will witness participation of key athletes from India and other Kho Kho playing nations,” said Sudhanshu Mittal, President, KKFI & Vice President, IOA.
The first edition of the Ultimate Kho Kho will feature eight teams named after the country’s prominent regions. There will be an initial draft of players where Kho Kho athletes from across the world, including England, South Korea, Republic of Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, will be made part of the eight franchise-based teams.
The teams will also have the opportunity to include U-18 players in their squad which will help develop a pool of young Kho Kho players in the country.
A Kho Kho match consists of 4 innings of 9 minutes each and will be played on specially developed mats in state-of-the-art indoor stadiums. It will also have some minor tweaks in the format to make it more visually appealing for fans and television viewers. The 21-day event is set to have a double round-robin format which will see the eight teams heavily involved in competition through the season.
Kho Kho ranks as one of the most popular traditional sports in India, along with kabaddi. It is a modified form of ‘Run Chase’ which in its simplest form involves chasing and touching a person. An athlete requires speed and agility. It is considered one of the strongest tag-team sports.