Ultimate Kho Kho 2022, Highlights: Lande’s heroics allow Odisha Juggernauts to be crowned champion
The Ultimate Kho Kho 2022 has come to an end. Odisha Juggernauts have been crowned the champion of the inaugural edition, thanks to a heroic performance from Suraj Lande. Watch the match highlights here.
Suraj Lande’s spectacular sky-dive helped Odisha Juggernauts clinch the title of the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) after conquering Telugu Yoddhas by 46-45 in an exciting final at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Sunday. After Yoddhas added 21 points in the third turn to take a 41-27 lead, Sachin Bhargo provided a couple of crucial points for his side, keeping Juggernauts at bay for 2.44 minutes. When he was dismissed, Yoddhas were in the lead at 45-43 with only 1.24 minutes left in the game.
However, Lande, who tested the Yoddhas defence with his stay of 3.03 minutes in the third turn, had further plans for Juggernauts. With just 14 seconds remaining, he seized Avdhut Patil with a fabulous sky-dive that added three winning points for Juggernauts and helped them win the championship. Lande achieved nine points in attack for the winning side, while Rohan Shingade assured 11 points for Yoddhas.
Earlier, famous Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan sang the national anthem to kick off the mega finale. The Lions Crew, winning the bronze medal in the 2021 World Hip Hop Dance Championship, also exhibited a spectacular concert, celebrating India’s maiden franchise-based Kho-Kho league.
Juggernauts chose to defend, with Vishal showcasing intellectual aptitudes to put a challenge for the league’s best-attacking side. Coming into the opening pack, he defended for four minutes and 23 seconds, scoring eight bonus points for Juggernauts. Skipper Dipesh More and Dilip Khandavi counted a couple more points with their unbeaten stay of 2.37 minutes.
With a fantastic defensive exhibition, Juggernauts held Yoddhas to 10-10 in the maiden turn. Yoddhas, the first side to collect 100 defensive points in the tournament, reacted well after exchanging spots. They restricted Juggernauts to 13 points and counted eight points, thanks to Adarsh Mohite’s 4.12-minute defence. However, Juggernauts kept ahead with a slim 23-20 lead at the nail-biting opening innings end.
Champion Juggernauts were awarded a whooping ₹1 crore prize money and the coveted trophy, while the second-placed Yoddhas took home ₹50 lakhs. Gujarat Giants collected ₹30 lakh as prize money for their third-place finish.