Pune: The concept of ‘talent hunt’ got first into the limelight when a host of singing and dancing shows flooded on to a television channels and people got a new platform to showcase their talent. These shows became the trendsetters and it helped many a youngster to realise their dream careers.
On the same lines, founders of Pro Kabaddi League, Mashal Sports Pvt. Ltd along with Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) with an idea of taking the game to every nook and corner of the country launched Future Kabaddi Heroes (FKH) programme.
The initiative was launched in 2017 before PKL Season 5 commenced and it brought success with 55 players got selected by various franchisees.
“The motto behind running this program is to bring talent from the grass root level. Not all get chance to play at national and state level tournaments, so this initiative is helping to find players who can not only play for PKL but can also represent India in future,” Jaivir Sharma, Senior Kabaddi Coach of Sports Authority of India to told Sakal Times in an exclusive interaction.
Jaivir along with Arjuna awardee coach Ashan Kumar are busy training 87 upcoming players in training camp at Ramsheth Thakur Sports Complex in Ulve near Panvel.
“It is good for the future of Kabaddi as talent at a school and college level is getting an opportunity. Their contribution will help us to create the big pool of kabaddi players,” said Ashan, who has since been hired as coach by Puneri Paltan.
In the camp, 87 players are divided into four groups and they are going under rigorous physical training. There are also physiotherapists and nutritionists to take care of the youngsters. “Game has changed a lot then what we used to play. Although basics are same, introductions of ‘Super Tackle’, ‘Third Raid’ are few things which changed the face of the game.
“So during the training sessions, we need to tell youngsters about how to deal in these situations. All are good in training but mentally players should assist the situation,” added Jaiveer. A day at training camp starts with warm-up drills followed by kabaddi practice and gym sessions. In the afternoon session, players are divided into groups where they do match practice.
“We are getting better and better in the camp. It is very special feeling to get trained by experienced coaches and now our name will be also seen in auction list that too along with star players, it is like dream come true,” said raider Mandeep from Haryana who wish to be the part of UP Yoddha team.
Another young kabaddi player, Mahendra Choudhary from Rajasthan wants to represent Jaipur Pink Panthers in Season 6. “Sometimes I don’t believe myself that I am so close to PKL now. Earlier I used to play but was not serious enough for the game. When I got selected for the camp from then I have become more serious about the game and now there is only one wish to play in Pro Kabaddi League,” said the defender, Mahendra Choudhary.
Factbox: future kabaddi heroes
Future Kabaddi Heroes program is conducted in three phases for the players in the age group of 18-22. In the first phase, talent scouting was done in 18 cities from February 26.
The programme started from Mumbai followed by Chennai, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Thrissur, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Lucknow, Vishakhapatnam, Patna, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore, Imphal, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar and Ahmedabad. At every centre, the camp was held for three days.
As many as 220 players were selected for Phase II. For the final phase, out of 220 players, 87 were selected and they are now in training camp in Ulve.
All selected young aspirants are trained under experienced coaches. Out of which 87 players will go under the hammer in the auction of Pro Kabaddi Season 6 under the ‘New Young Players’ category.
FKH has helped me to become the more mature player. Now there is only one thing in my mind that I want to play in Pro Kabaddi League.
— Mandeep, Raider Haryana
Since I have come to this camp I have started getting respect from people. There is only one aim now to be a part of Pro Kabaddi League Season 6.
— Mahendra C Defender, Rajasthan
PKL is helping players to stay in touch with the game more frequently. They play 22 matches and then State and National level matches so it good that they are playing more matches in a year.
— Ashan Kumar, Camp Coach
Role of selectors has become easy due to Pro Kabaddi League. Now they don’t have to be dependent on State and National level matches they can judge the form of player from PKL matches.
—Jaivir Sharma, Camp Coach