Dilip Khandavi waited, hand on the kho kho pole, almost taunting his opponent. He’d hold that position, slightly crouched, and wait for the attacker to make his move before darting well out of reach.
He’d slalom between attackers, alter pace and direction seamlessly, turn on a dime, slap his thigh to showboat a bit, and stay well out of reach for two minutes and four seconds. And he’d remain unbeaten in the Ultimate Kho Kho final on Sunday, at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.
The 20-year-old is the pocket dynamo of the Odisha Juggernauts, and he’d use his 5-foot (153 cm) frame, coupled with his measured movement on the mat, to keep the Telugu Yoddhas from away from what could have been a crucial touch point. But he didn’t give it away, and it made a big difference for the Juggernauts who walked away with the title after registering a one-point (46-45) win to become the first champions of the latest franchise-based sports league in India.
For his efforts in the final, Khandavi was given the ‘Defender of the Match’ award.
In a team of tall, athletic players, Khandavi’s…