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  • Oct
  • 12

Interview | Kabaddi keeps Puneri Paltan’s Akshay Jadhav on right path

Author Image Fisto Staff

Akshay Jadhav sped down the sidelines, reached out and snagged a point— during the eliminator 2 of Pro Kabaddi season 5 against UP Yoddha — looked almost effortless for the 5-foot-5, 147-pound raider.

 

It was one of the first big play of Akshay’s career and proved why he could be one of the top weapons for the Paltan this season and for years to come. “One has to adopt roles according to the match situation and perform for the team," he said. "Though I consider myself a raider, I also like to defend and tackle as both are important components of the game when it comes to winning a game. I just like playing Kabaddi." For Akshay Jadhav, 24, making plays on the court has always been about more than just creating a highlight reel, though. The game has given him stability over the years. Having found his passion at an early age - Anaje, a small village 40km from Kolhapur - prompted him to pursue Kabaddi as a sport. Jadhav’s journey from the small village of Anaje in Radhanagari Taluka to the atrium of the Pro Kabaddi stage is indeed one to be savoured.

 

"Kabaddi changed my life forever," he said.

 

That's not an exaggeration from the Anaje native, who starred at New English School, Anaje before coming to Paltan three years ago as a true freshman. “My father used to take me to Kabaddi practice ground where other villagers used to practice, that’s when I got hooked to Kabaddi.” But it was only after 12th standard when he was selected to play in the state level championships, he took the sport seriously and then there has been no looking back.

PKL Journey

The major breakthrough moment came when he represented Anaje at a local tournament against the famed Satej Kabaddi Sangh from Baner, he caught the eye of Appasaheb Dalvi, the opposition coach who invited him to play for his team in Pune. “I moved from Kolhapur to Pune for Kabaddi, and the sport changed my life forever. I also became a part of Satej Sangh in Baner, Pune. I secured a job with Income Tax Department, Pune. This is my 3rd season with Puneri Paltan in PKL,” he added. Now, the 24-year-old will be seen in Orange colours for the third time in Pro Kabaddi Season 6, is a familiar face whom the locals are proud to call as one of their own. Though he played fewer games in the last two seasons, Akshay thinks he learned so much in the past two season and ready to make his mark with Paltan this season. “I have concentrated on my game and I have constantly practised hard during on and offseason.” “I used to travel every day from Pune to Mumbai for Puneri Paltan’s fitness sessions. In the morning, I do fitness and train with Income Tax team and in the evening train with my club’s team,” he further added. On Asian Games Kabaddi has provided too much for him to get discouraged, though. His energy and passion drive him, and when those big plays happen, they validate all the work that he and others around him have done to keep him focused. Jadhav also believes that India’s Asian Games, 2018 defeat to Iran is another positive paradigm to see the sport growing worldwide more than ever.

“In a game, one team is bound to win and other loses. Iranians learnt the Kabaddi from us and now have truly made their mark on Kabaddi world map. However, I would like to congratulate the Iranian team (both men and women) since they have practised and worked hard and bagged the gold medal basis true determination and persistence.”

Tackle or Ride?

When askedabout which is more difficult, tackle or ride, he briefs both are important components of the game, “Neither defending nor raiding is difficult because irrespective if one is primarily a raider or defender, one has to adopt roles according to the match situation and perform for the team.” Akshay didn't face many challenges but said that from an early age, he had coaches keeping him on the right path. “I didn’t face many challenges because everyone supported me to play. I had some injuries during the last season. Other than that, there have not been many challenges,” said the Puneri Paltan rider. “I pray to the almighty have a banana and a black coffee,” some of his pre-game rituals before the game starts.

Looks for resurgence

Under the new coach, Ashan Kumar, Jadhav looks to go from strength to strength, and who knows the upcoming edition might prove to be his show. He also heaps praise on the new coach by saying, “Ashan sir is strict yet friendly. He is a perfect guide who believes that improving his players/disciples Kabaddi skills is how he can contribute for the game and he works day and night to achieve this.” So far this season, it has been Nitin Tomar stealing the headlines as the club’s leading raider. Akshay is having a good season, as well, but admits he wishes he could get the points in his hands more often. “I want to win the trophy for Puneri Paltan since it’s been 3 seasons with Puneri Paltan now, I want to play a vital role if Puneri Paltan lifts the trophy this season.”  

Tit-Bits

Favourite Movie – Welcome, Golmaal, Karan Arjun

Favourite cheat meal – Dum Biryani

Favourite song – "Hum hai sidhe sadhe akshay akshay" from "Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi" movie  

Your favourite movie Quote - "Jo aapne bite huye kal se  bhagata hai... Vo jindgi ki race me kabhi nahi jitata.."  

Your biggest addiction? – Kabaddi

Best friend in Puneri Paltan – Girish Dada and More GB

Role model – Manjeet Chhillar  


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