Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], February 4 (ANI): Deepak Niwas Hooda, captain of the India National Kabaddi team, believes that Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has contributed a lot to the growth of the game.
"The actual growth of Kabaddi and that so many people know us, has happened after the Pro Kabaddi League. Earlier International tournaments like the Asian Games and the World cup used to take place but very few followed the game. People follow what is seen on TV," Deepak, who also is also the skipper of the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the PKL, said on Sports Tiger's show 'Building Bridge'.
Kabaddi, being a contact sport was one of the sports to have the maximum impact of the lockdown restrictions. Deepak, like most other sportsmen, had to stay away from playing the game for a long time due to the nationwide lockdown. Reflecting on the same, he said: "During the start of COVID-19, there were a few problems but we managed."
Now that competitive sports and tournaments have resumed, Deepak is happy about the development and said: "I feel good, we were waiting for Kabaddi to start. We were tired of just practicing, we wanted to play Kabaddi. We were always at home, roaming inside or maybe on the terrace. We were missing the competition."
He also spoke about the years 2014 and 2016 which turned out to be milestone years for him. "In January 2014 Nationals in Patna, I played so well that I have not been able to replicate such performance in the Nationals ever since."
He also spoke about his India debut and said: "In 2016, I made my India debut and played the South Asian Games and the World Cup in the same year and have been playing since then."
Arjuna Awardee Deepak has led the Indian team to a gold medal at the 2019 South Asian Games. Deepak also spoke about his career-high moment when he was appointed the captain of the Indian National Team and said: "For the 2019 South Asian Games, trials were on for team selection when it was decided that I will be the captain. Initially, for a player, just getting the Indian jersey is like a dream come true moment. Then getting medals in top tournaments like World Cup, Asian Games, when the national anthem plays after winning a gold medal, it is a very emotional moment. After that, being made the captain of the national team is a matter of great pride for me as well as for any player." (ANI)