After cricket, hockey, table tennis, badminton, football, kabaddi and boxing, kho kho is next in line to take the ‘League’ route. In its bid to popularize the game among masses, Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) has decided to launch a League format in kho kho. The work on the format is currently underway as the Federation is gearing up to sign various stakeholders.
The nationwide tournament, in affiliation with KKFI, will be called ‘Kho Kho League’ and Rajiv Mehta, Secretary General, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has been appointed the Chairman of the League by the Kho Kho Federation of India.
“The formal launch is slated to take place in two months. We are in talks with various international federations for their participation as well”, Mehta shared.
M S Tyagi, General Secretary, Kho Kho Federation of India informed, “This concept will give a major boost to the game. Our strategy will be to attract sports lovers towards Kho Kho from remotest corners of India.”
The concept of ‘Kho Kho League’ is similar to that of existing sports leagues in India. The format will see eight teams, representing eight states. The teams will also have two international players each. The ownership of teams will be open for private players.
According to Mehta, the Federation is in talks with some of the renowned names who are interested in the proposition. It is learnt that Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Akshay Kumar have been approached for the ‘Kho Kho League’ teams. The League is still in its nascent stage as the Federation is preparing to roll out tenders to allow various stakeholders to become a part of the historic move that is expected to empower a low-key sport like that of Kho Kho in India.
Tyagi said that the game of Kho Kho is faster than Kabaddi and this will help the game to beat likes of Kabaddi in terms of popularity. “What we have taken into consideration is that Kho Kho is faster than Kabaddi. It is amazing to see its popularity in cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata, Maharashtra and Bangalore.”
Recently, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan had spoken in favour of Kho Kho becoming the next sport in India to join the other existing premier sports leagues. He had also said that Kho Kho is more viable than Kabaddi due its low investment and operational costs.
Mehta also informed about a plan to bring major reform in the sport. “IOA is waiting for Commonwealth Games (CWG) to give its affiliation to Kho Kho. Our aim is to introduce the indigenous sport at CWG. We want Kho Kho to make it to CWG and waiting for the recommendation from the Commonwealth Games Federation regarding the same”, he cited.
The management also wants the sport to make a global impact. “The idea is to establish Kho Kho in 20-25 countries”, he added.
Story originally published for The Quint
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