Sarika Kale is dedicated to earn her position in Kho Kho. Kho Kho has been an inspiring game for Indians. It might enter into the ultimate leagues soon with more than 8 countries representing the teams in the leagues. It is expected that Kho Kho leagues would provide a livelihood to the players. But kho kho is one such game which is loved in rural areas beyond money. They play the game without any expectations. They play this game for mental satisfaction. We can not ignore the contribution of those heroes who made this sport so big.
In the last part of the series on Kho Kho players we covered the story of Siddharth Patwardhan, a least known kho kho hero from early nineties who is now a successful research scientist in United Kingdom. But every story is not the same.
Today’s story is about Sarika Kale from a small village of Osmanabad District, who struggled too much to earn her position in Kho kho.
Sarika Kale came from poor family to National Kho Kho team Captain
Her struggle to reach the pinnacle is astounding. She was from a poor family that she could not get enough food. She is termed as the athlete without nourishment. Some times she just ate noodles in the dinner and some times she even had to skip one meal to manage her finances. It’s a story about her will and determination.
Osmanabad was always considered to be a one of the most poor cities in the state. There are no employments, no businesses and a land locked state with only government offices. Her family was even poorer. Her family background was not so good. Father had no job and he was under the influence of alcohol. He was never in favor of the idea of Sarika playing Kho Kho. But her grand mother who received a pension of Rs. 9000 ( $120 a month) stood by her side.
Sarika loved the game so much that she never missed a single practice. In fact, during monsoons, she would force her coach to take the practice. No festivals, celebrations, sickness, or any other thing came in the way of Kho Kho for this schoolgirl.
She was passionate for Kho Kho an Indian game. In today’s world this game neglected. This led Indian Kho Kho team as a Captain and won Gold medal for India.
She started playing Kho Kho when she was in 5th standard & then never looked back. In 2006-07 she was a part of Maharashtra team. Her responsibilities rised as she became the captain of Team Maharashtra in 2010-11. Sarika has played 20 nationals including Federation & Association National Championships. In those nationals she has won 12 Gold, 4 Silver & 4 Bronze medals.
Being captain of Indian team
In 2015-16 her hardwork paid off. Sarika selected in the Indian Women’s Kho kho team. Sarika announced as a captain of Indian Women’s Kho Kho team for South Asian Games 2016 held in Guwahati. India won the GOLD medal in that tournament. The above videos portrays the game played in the Semi finals against Sri Lanka. Sarika defended her side.
In the 3rd Asian Kho Kho championship held at Indore Sarika led Indian Women’s Kho Kho team to win gold medal. She is just outstanding player. When she wrote this post she used to work for the State Government. It honoured her with the highest state sports award and bestowed a secured job.