Kho Kho, a traditional Indian game of ‘Tag’, is now gaining popularity among youngsters in India and with its experienced player Sarika Kale being honoured with Arjuna Award this year has led to a refreshed energy within the Kho Kho community.
On Monday, Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) President Sudhanshu Mittal expressed his joy over the rise in the game, saying that the nation’s indigenous sport is finally being recognised as a career option amongst the players and will no longer just be a pleasure play.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju ji for helping in promoting Kho Kho. Earlier, for government jobs (in sports quota) Kho Kho was not considered but now Kho Kho players — who did great — can also get a job under that scheme. And the credit to this goes to the Central government.
“So, the sportspersons –who play Kho Kho — are now feeling secure (career wise) and I am sure such motivational steps will promote the sport in India,” Mr Mittal said.
The Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) President further said that the sport has opened up its wings and is ready to explore the World.
“It is a proud moment for the Kho Kho Federation of India that Kho Kho has got recognition at international level as well. Who would have thought that Kho Kho will become so popular in foreign countries too? Efforts were made to make it possible and I am thankful to all those who are supporting us in this regard.
“Foreign countries liked our sport (Kho Kho) because there is endurance, agility and strength in it. People will surely like it,” he said.
The Kho Kho league was scheduled to start next month but because of COVID-19 it got postponed indefinitely.
Speaking about the league, Mr Mittal said the Kho Kho league will open a wide array of opportunities for the players nationwide to help improve their lives.“Leagues are now taking place in every sport. And such leagues are doing great in promoting their respective sports. Like for example after cricket, people have watched Kabaddi a lot. And just like Kabaddi, Kho Kho also has action involved. People will watch it too.
“Our Kho Kho league was scheduled to start from November 21 but because of COVID-19 it got postponed. We will announce the fresh dates soon,” he said. Mr Mittal further acknowledged the support of the Central government after Sarika Kale was honored with the Arjuna Award this year.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has once spoken (in Mann Ki Baat) on promoting India’s sports and he named Kho Kho in that speech. Now when one Kho kho player was honored with an Arjuna award, this has boosted the confidence of the Kho Kho players and the federation.
“Our athletes feel that they are also now getting the same kind of recognition like other sportspersons get. I on behalf of my federation would like to say that we will continue to support and promote our sport and athletes,” he concluded.