Dashing debut at Pro Kabaddi League- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Maruthamuthu and Kannagi were living their dream as they witnessed their son Sudhakar playing his first Pro Kabaddi season — representing Patna Pirates against Tamil Thalaivas — at the SDAT Indoor Stadium, Chennai. There was a time when they had questions as to whether Sudhakar should continue pursuing his interest in this sport. They were worried about the injuries that happen in kabaddi and tried to deviate him from the sport. Sudhakar, however, was passionate about the sport, and did not want to let go. He persisted, worked hard and the success followed.

On Friday, Sudhakar was the architect of Pirates’ victory against Thalaivas, accounting for 11 of the 46 points his team scored. What even took Sudhakar by surprise is the reception he got when he entered for raids — the crowd were cheering at maximum decibel for the local lad despite playing for Patna. “I never expected that much support from the stadium,” Sudhakar told this daily. “I felt motivated and proud by hearing my name chanted by the fans, that gave me goosebumps and I decided to win the match for the people and my family who were supporting from the stands,” he added.

Hailing from Palayanallur village in Tiruchy, Sudhakar took up the sport following the footsteps of his father and brothers who were kabaddi players. He started to engrave his name on trophies from eighth grade, the performances in the zonal divisions and university matches followed, opening the doors to the Yuva Kabaddi series which became the big break in his career. In the winter edition of 2022 Yuva Kabaddi series held at Puducherry, Sudhakar represented Pazhani Tuskers who were the runners-up of the tournament. He finished the season by securing the top raider award with 328 points from just 28 matches. “Palani tuskers was a good team and helped me to make my game better, where I found my real talent.

At the beginning, it was challenging to play in front of such a huge crowd, the mat was slippery and new. Gradually, I got used to all of that,” said Sudhakar. His performance in the Yuva Kabaddi series made the Patna Pirates secure the services of the 21-year-old who works with the Integral Coach Factory. “As we know, in any sport after the prime stage we cannot earn much, so a job is essential for financial security, and the money from the contract will also help my family,” he said.

The TN player has made the most of the opportunity in his debut PKL season, with 41 points from 6 games. With him securing a permanent spot in the starting seven, the future looks brighter than ever for Sudhakar and the Pirates.

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