“Kabaddi will become India’s Number 1 sport” - Interview with Tejasvi Gehlot
“Kabaddi will become India’s Number 1 sport” reveals Tejasvi Gehlot current president of Rajasthan Kabaddi Federation in an exclusive Interview with Team Sportzcraazy.
The Pro Kabaddi League has completely changed the dynamics of Kabaddi in our country, as players are being recognized among fans and their financial status has been uplifted. Credit should be given to Mashal Sports, the Indian Kabaddi Federation as well as the players who have made this league memorable, and the next edition of this marquee event will be launched soon.
Question 1: Sir, How do you want us, to introduce you?
Tejasvi Gehlot: You can call me Sports Fanatic. Any kind of sport I love, be it football, hockey, or any game.
Question 2: What are your initial memories of sports?
Tejasvi Gehlot: As far as I remember, I used to go with my dad to witness different Kabaddi competitions and have seen this game grow at the micro level.
Question 3: Your Father, Mr. Janardhan Singh Gehlot was a well-known Kabaddi administrator, so did you initially like Kabaddi because of him, or were you naturally inclined towards this game?
Tejasvi Gehlot: I think my liking initially towards Kabaddi developed because of him, as I was more interested in football and hockey, but later I was gripped by this game and completely fascinated with the way things unfold in Kabaddi.
Question 4: What is the current grassroots ecosystem of Rajasthan Kabaddi?
Tejasvi Gehlot: In Rajasthan, we have 32 districts. In a few years, we have built a federation in all those districts and we regularly conduct championships for junior, sub-junior and senior levels. Slowly and steadily, players are emerging from the state and even girls are now much more involved
in the state when it comes to playing.
Question 5: What are your initial memories of being Rajasthan Kabaddi Federation President when you were elected for the first time in the year 2016?
Tejasvi Gehlot: When I became President of Rajasthan Kabaddi Federation in 2016, I had three priorities, which included- winning medals in the national, the second being players from the state should receive job security and the third one is a financial security with the Pro Kabaddi League. We have achieved a couple of things in these three priorities and I am glad several players from my state have received the opportunity to do jobs in respective government organizations and players like Sachin Tanwar and Bijendra from the state have already played at PKL. We have a wonderful system where we scout players from the state so their skills can be furnished to the next level.
Question 6: Tell us something about unsung facts about Kabaddi?
Tejasvi Gehlot: I will start from the historical facts on how Kabaddi panned out in the International scenario. It all started in 1985 when India was included in the South Asian Games in which four teams participated in that marquee event. In 1990, Kabaddi was included in the Asian Games for the first time and the only gold medal India won in that marquee event came in Kabaddi. From 1994 onwards, several Asian countries participated. Recently, India was inducted into the South Asian Games(SEA) where countries like
Lagos, Vietnam, and Singapore will take part, which will be held in Cambodia.
At the international level, countries like Australia, Kenya, Poland, Argentina & others are playing Kabaddi now and our next aim is to reach out to maximum countries.
Question 7: What is the Future of Kabaddi in India?
Tejasvi Gehlot: I am elated that you are asking this question and I would say, that we will overtake cricket as the number 1 sport in India and there is no doubt about this, as the biggest reason behind this is the footprint Kabaddi enjoys in rural parts of India which hasn’t been explored yet. Cricket is mostly played by those countries which were ruled by the British in the past. The only thing is that, as an administrator, we all need to see how we will streamline matches post 3 months of PKL in a calendar year.
Question 8: Message to Aspiring players?
Tejasvi Gehlot: See the current demand for sport requires fitness, which can be earned through Yoga and gym, so keep yourself fit. In Kabaddi or any sport, things take time, so don’t be impatient and never allow success to your head and learn from established players like Anup Kumar & Manjeet Chillar how they have conducted themselves in the international arena.