By Ashok Kumar Shaw
Ahead of the Pro Kabaddi League that starts on January 30, Wizz Kabaddi met few players from Telugu Titans to learn about their struggles and success story. Here’s the first part of the interview with Rahul Kumar, who plays as Defender Right Cover for Telugu Titans. This is Rahul’s first season with Telugu Titans and he looks forward to making a good impression. Excerpts from the interview.
Wizz Kabaddi: Please tell us about your background. How you got interested in kabaddi and took it up as a career.
Rahul: I am from Uttar Pradesh. In our village, kabaddi was already being played. So, it was obvious, we will also play kabaddi. There was not much focus on studies. We use to play kabaddi with friends. We did not know that we will go so far in kabaddi or play at this level. We used to play the sport for timepass. We did not had much knowledge in this sport. But as we kept on playing, we took it seriously and moved ahead in this sport. After playing at the village level, I started participating in school events and felt good playing it. After that, I played nationals for my state. Last year, we played senior nationals in Tamil Nadu and came third. This time, we won gold in nationals.
Wizz Kabaddi: Please tell us about your family background.
Rahul: I’m the only son in my family, my mother and sister is there. My father has expired. I have the whole responsibility of the family on my shoulders. Family use to discourage me for playing kabaddi as I was the only son and they feared I will get injured playing the sport. But I had got deeply interested in this sport. Now my family is very supportive of me. They say it’s nice that I played kabaddi and went so far in my chosen path.
Wizz Kabaddi: How do you got selected for Telugu Titans in Pro Kabaddi League?
Rahul: After playing well in nationals, Telugu Titans coach contacted me. Rahul Chaudhari who plays for UP referred my name to Telugu Titans coach. And coach sir called me here. And I got selected after the trials.
Wizz Kabaddi: What was the initial challenges you faced when you started playing kabaddi?
RahuI: I did not knew how to move forward in kabaddi or play at national levels. We use to play at village level only. There were a lot of competitions from the district I belong to. Lot of players used to come but not everybody used to get selected. Only few of them were able to make it. So, it was disheartening when I was not getting selected. In 2011, I got selected for senior nationals. But I could not play as my mother was sick. Last year, I played for nationals in TN and we came third and we won a gold the next.