Since its inception in 2014, Pro Kabaddi has been instrumental in unearthing new talents. The seven seasons of PKL so far have witnessed some of India’s brightest young prospects proving themselves on a big stage and staking a claim for their selection at the national level. 

Pardeep Narwal, Rishank Devadiga and Nitin Tomar are some of the young players who have not just managed to become Pro Kabaddi stars but have gone on to represent India on the world stage. Here we look at a couple of ways for aspiring kabaddi talents to make it to the big time by joining a Pro Kabaddi team. 

Getting into Pro Kabaddi via Future Kabaddi Heroes

The Future Kabaddi Heroes (FKH) is an initiative by Mashal Sports to scout young and uncapped talents. Under the programme, young budding kabaddi players are provided guidance and training under the tutelage of experienced coaches and professionals. 

Players registered for the programme first undergo a set of trials. The shortlisted players then go through rigorous drills where their physical strength, endurance and technical skills are tested. The best individuals are nominated at every stage and the players selected through the FKH programme then enter the Pro Kabaddi auction under the New Young Players (NYP) category.

Season 7 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Naveen Kumar, U.P. Yoddha captain Nitesh Kumar, and former U Mumba defender Surender Singh are all products of the FKH programme.

Getting into Pro Kabaddi via Senior National Championships

The Senior National Championship, a distinguished tournament organized by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) for the promotion of the sport in the country, is another way of getting into Pro Kabaddi. Established in 1952, it has been the premium selection pathway for the elevation of players at the national level.

The kabaddi associations from various states across India send their respective teams to participate in the tournament along with teams from Railways and Services. At present, there are 31 teams that participate in the Senior National Championship. 

The players that produce top performances at the tournament and catch the eyes of onlookers and scouts are selected and eligible to register for the Pro Kabaddi auction.  Prior to the FKH programme, the Senior National Championship was the sole route for players’ participation in Pro Kabaddi. 

Kabaddi legends like Anup Kumar, Rakesh Kumar and Dharmaraj Cheralathan are a few notable names that have risen through the ranks courtesy the Senior National Kabaddi Championship.

Author: Kausubh Potdar

Featured photo: PKL / Website