Maharashtra’s Pratik Waikar continued his spectacular show at the KKFI 2021 Super League Kho Kho tournament as Pahadi Billas lifted the trophy with a convincing six-point win in the thrilling final against Panthers in New Delhi on Monday.
In the summit clash played at the gleaming Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here, leading from the front skipper Waikar dished out a solid all-round performance and guided his side to 31-25 win.
The 25-year-old all-rounder, who also played as a Wazir for the team and has been consistent throughout the tournament, once again proved his mettle as he defended for one minute and 50 seconds and then chased down 11 points for his team. He found good support from his teammates Railway’s Nilesh Patil and Kerala’s Mahesh M. While Mahesh spent 1 minute and 40 seconds on the mat in defence, Nilesh impressed in the chase with six points.
The championship was played as part of the KKFI and Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK)-organized first-ever High-Performance Evaluation and Scientific Assessment training camp. The winners and runners-up team in the men’s event received Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh prize money respectively while third and fourth ranked teams bagged Rs 50 thousand each. The women’s teams received 30 thousand each.
West Bengal’s Subhasish Santra was key performer for the Panthers with his one minute 50 seconds in defence and eight points in the chase.
Three Maharashtra players picked the best achievement awards for their fine run in the tournament. Ramji Kashyap of Solapur was adjudged the Best Chaser and Thane’s Mahesh Shinde received the Best Runner Award with each of them receiving Rs 50,000. While the Best Wazir of the Championship Award and Rs 75,000 was won by Abhinandan Patil of Kolhapur and P Siva Reddy of Andhra Pradesh was adjudged the Best Pole Diver and Rs 50,000. Madhya Pradesh’s Sachin Bhargo won Rs 50,000 for posing the best skydives in the championship.
In the women’s tournament, Panthers emerged as the winner with a dominating show throughout the tournament. On the final day they secured nine points win against Cheetahs to clinch their fourth successive victory and also the trophy with an unbeaten record.
Earlier in the men’s semi-finals Panther beat Jaguars by eight points with scores 43-35 while Pahadi Billas thrashed Cheetahs by seven points (41-34) in the second semi-final.