SPORTS: Medal keeps kho-kho girl going – salt of the earth ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BYMAIN UDDIN CHISTI
Cooch Behar, July 14: Beethi Khatun presents a strange sight as she stoops to plant paddy saplings alongside adults in a flooded field: she is in a colourful jersey and a medal dangles from a ribbon round her neck.
A student of Class VI at Gitaldaha High School, 50km from Cooch Behar town, Beethi was part of the Bengal kho-kho team that was the runners-up at the National Sub-junior Kho-Kho Championship. The meet was held from June 25 to 29 at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
However, the 12-year-old girl had to get back to the tireless drudgery of the paddy field once she returned home. “I have to go to work whenever there are no classes. I help my brother tend to the crops on our four-bigha land. Otherwise, I work for someone else at Rs 30 a day. I sometimes skip school but I never skip practice,” said Beethi.
She goes for practice at the Okrabari Naba Pragati Sangha, about 5km from her home in Bhorampoyosti village. She is trained by the club’s secretary, Ajit Barman, a former coach of the Bengal kho-kho team.
“A kho-kho coaching camp had been organised in Gitaldaha in April by the West Bengal Sports Council. Five boys and girls were chosen and taken to Calcutta. While four of them returned, Beethi was selected for the Bengal sub-junior team,” the coach said.
Beethi’s widowed mother Kukila Bewa said her husband had died when Beethi was a student of Class II. “I have seven other children and after my husband’s death I took Beethi with me to Delhi where I work as a mason’s helper. Now that she is in Class VI, I go to Delhi each year while she stays here,” she said.
Beethi is the youngest of Kukila’s five daughters and three sons. Two of Beethi’s brothers have married and settled down elsewhere. Three of her sisters have also been married off.
“We can hardly make ends meet and the only good clothes I have is the one I wear to school and the jersey and track suit given by the Bengal Kho-kho Association. I wear the medal as a lucky charm. One day, if I win a gold medal, our problems will be over,” Beethi said.
Kho Kho – the game ?!!
Kho- Kho is an Indian game. It is popular in the whole of India. It originated at Pune Gymkana in the state of Maharashtra. Its team in India is called Kho- Kho Federation of India (K.K.F.I).
Kho- Kho is a game played in 2 innings by 12 nominated players out of 15, on each side. Initially 9 players start the game and 3 are kept reserve.
One team becomes the chasers and the other the defenders or runners. In the game, the chaser pursues the runners; tags and touches them and makes them out. Each team has to chase and defend for 9 minutes twice in a match.
The Kho- Kho playground is rectangular. It is 27 meters in length and 15 meters in breadth. There are two rectangles at the end. One side of the rectangle is 16 meter and the other side is 2.70 meters. In the middle of these two rectangles, there shall be two wooden poles. The central lane is 21.60 meters long and 30cm X 30cm on the lane.
There are eight cross lanes which lie across the small squares and each of it is 15 meters in length and 30cm in breadth, at right angles to the central lane and divided equally into two parts of 7.30m each by central lane. At the end of central lane, two posts shall be fixed. They shall be 120cm above the ground and their circumference shall be not less than 30cm and not more than 40cm. The post shall be made of wooden poles which are smooth all over. The posts shall be fixed firmly in the free zone tangent to the post-line at a height between 120 to 125cm. The top of the post shall be flat and free from any sharp edges.
The equipments used in Kho- Kho are posts, strings, measuring tape (metallic), lime powder, wire nails, two watches, two types of rings having inner circumference of 30cm and 40cm, score sheets and stationery to write results etc.