August 17:  Mumbai Khiladis, who are set to compete in the inaugural Ultimate Kho Kho season starting from 14th August 2022, launched their home and away jerseys for the season at a glitzy event in Mumbai today. Along with unveiling their official jersey, the Mumbai-based franchisee also announced Vijay Hajare as their captain for the season. The unveiling and announcement were done by team Owners Punit Balan, Janhavi Dhariwal Balan and Bollywood Rapper Badshah at a star-studded event. In attendance were Madhukar Shree, CEO, Rajendra Sapte, Head Coach and Shobhi R, Assistant Coach.

Addressing the gathering, Badshah, Owner of Mumbai Khiladis, expressed, “I have an emotional connect with Kho Kho as my mother has played the sport at the state level. That was my biggest motivation to invest in this sport. I am excited and looking forward to this new chapter of my life.”

Badshah also announced that he would release an anthem for the team. When asked about the team anthem, Badshah said, “With regard to motivating the team for the tournament, this is the least I could do for the players. It’s a work in progress, but I am sure players will love it, and you will also love it.”

Speaking on occasion, Punit Balan, Owner of Mumbai Khiladis, stated, “I heard a few people say that kho kho is going to close down in India. However, as one of our players said, here’s a start. It all starts from here. Our vision is to take the sport to the next level, provide our athletes with the right opportunities and support them to take it to the next level, giving them a holistic experience. The Ultimate Kho Kho will attract many fans from all over the country.”

Janhavi Dhariwal Balan, the only woman owner in the Ultimate Kho Kho, said, “The reason I want to be a part of this league is that I want to play a small part in the growth of sports in India. And I feel that if I am a part of this league, I could also inspire women to take up sports.”

Hailing from Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Vijay Hajare is named Captain of Mumbai Khiladi. During his appointment, Hajare expressed, “I would like to thank the owners and the coaches for putting faith in me. We have a lot of young players on our side. We need energetic players on the mat; therefore, it’s fantastic that we have many youngsters. Our practice is full swing, and we are excited about the tournament.”

Speaking about the Mumbai Khiladis’ preparedness for the tournament, Head Coach Rajendra Sapte said that the players are focusing on fitness.  

“Our preparations are going on well for the tournament. We focus on players’ fitness as the Ultimate Kho Kho will be a long competition. We have to play all the matches until the Final, and we are carrying out our preparations accordingly,” he concluded

The Ultimate Kho Kho will be played from 14 August 2022 to 04 September 2022 at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune. The Ultimate Kho Kho will be live telecasted on Sony Sports Network and their OTT platform, SonyLIV. Two matches will be played during the league stage, with the season’s first match being played by Mumbai Khiladis starting at 7:00 pm (IST) on 14 August 2022.

 

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