Pune: Obsession can sometimes do wonders for you and this is exactly what has happened with Prasad Rao - better known as ‘kabaddirao’ all around the world.
EP Rao is once such name in kabaddi circuit and he is involved with a game in multiple roles. His popularity has given him name kabaddirao and address of his website is www.kabaddirao.com
“I started as a player then did coaching for many years also acted as a teacher and now I work as a Technical Director with International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and also associated with Pro Kabaddi League (PKL),” EP Rao told Sakal Times in an exclusive interview.
“Kabaddi was my obsession, I always wanted to do something in Kabaddi. I was not a quality of player due to my height and physical structure so I started my career as a coach.”
Rao was the coach of the Indian team which won gold medals at the Asian Games in 1990 Beijing and 2002 Busan.
“In 1981, I got the job of Assistant Coach with Indian team and from then on there was no looking back. I was the head coach of the of the Indian team in Beijing Asian Games. In the Busan, South Korea, six players were from my hostel in the Indian team which won the gold medal defeating Bangladesh.”
“Sports Authority of India gave me a place to run centre of excellence - training centre for Kabaddi in the year 2000 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. It is also known as kabaddi hostel. Manpreet Singh, Manjeet Chhillar, Rakesh Kumar all are the product of my hostel,” pointed out Rao, a Dronacharya awardee and credited with producing 14 Arjuna Awardees and as much as 200 medallists.
“Even right now 20 per cent of Pro Kabaddi League players are from my hostel,” he added.
EP Rao left coaching Indian team in 2002 and adopted a new role as technical director. Although he did not stop coaching to an overseas team and he has coached Korea, England and France.Kabaddi off field
EP Rao also introduced theoretical knowledge to the game by penning four books which are also translated into Chinese, Japanese, Iranian and Thai languages.
“I started diploma course of Kabaddi for the Government of India and my books are used as a technical material reference book for the people who are doing PHD in Kabaddi. My books are used by coaches in overseas to understand the game.”
PKL is magic wand
“PKL has taken the game to a different level. We were used to winning medals in Asian Games, but people never looked towards the sport as a professional sport.
The inception of PKL changed all that and credit must go to Mashal Sports and Stars Sports who came out with this brilliant idea, which turned out to be a magic wand,” addded EP Rao.