Know Your Kabaddi Coaches: Meet Jaipur Pink Panthers Coach Sanjeev Baliyan
Pro Kabaddi League has provided opportunities for several former players to become a household names as a coach today. When the tournament came into existence, many former Indian players got the opportunity to coach young and upcoming players through the tournament. Sanjeev Baliyan is one of the notable names who had successfully made the transition as the coach from a star player.
Unlike others, Sanjeev Baliyan's profile is a Kabaddi player, who is one of the best. He has created several records and won many medals while he was a part of the Indian Kabaddi Team.
Born in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, Baliyan began as a cricketer. When he was training at his school, his coach noticed him and felt that he would be a better fit as a kabaddi player. Soon, the coach made him switch the sport. Later on, he was announced as the captain of his School team. Baliyan went on to win trophies for his school. His performances made heads turn, and he began to get opportunities.
After making his mark in the School Kabaddi, Baliyan joined Indian Police Force and represented them in the All India Tournament. Later, he shifted to Railways and won gold for his team in 1998 and 2001. He was named the best player in the National Kabaddi Championships.
Soon, he got into the Indian team in 1998 where he was a part of the team that participated in the Asian Games in Bangkok. Baliyan became the vice-captain of the Indian team in 2000. He played a major role in winning Gold in FAJAR International Sport & Culture tournament and the Malaysian Open kabaddi tournament in 2002.
Thanks to his consistent performances, he got promoted as the captain of the Indian team. He led the Indian team in the 1st ever Kabaddi World Cup in 2004 which India won by ease. Baliyan contributed big in the final which led them to lift the trophy. India had an easy run through the league stages. They were untested until the finals. Indian team faced Iran in the final. Baliyan proved why he is the captain of the team. Baliyan went on to help the Indian team to lift the 1st ever-Kabaddi World Cup.
Later on, he also played a major role in winning the gold medal at the 14th Asian Games and the 9th SAF Games.
Baliyan was felicitated with the Arjuna Award for his contributions to the Kabaddi in India. He was appreciated for his work towards the rise of the sport in the country.
He continued to impress in the National Championships. Baliyan won the best player of the Tournament award in the National Championships for 8 consecutive years. This is still a record which looks pretty intact.
When Pro Kabaddi League came into existence, he was one of the most-wanted coaches in the country.
Baliyan became the head coach of Patna Pirates in the PKL 3. The team went on to lift the trophy that year.
Soon, he also became the coach of Indian Railways in the National Kabaddi Championships. Baliyan led the team to consecutive gold medals in the 66th and 67th editions.
In 2019, he became the head coach of U Mumba. After a couple of years with the team, he was roped in by Jaipur Pink Panthers. Sanjeev Baliyan helped the team to lift the trophy in the edition.
Jaipur Pink Panthers won the first edition of PKL, but since then, they couldn't do much in the tournament. Under Baliyan's leadership, the team found form and lifted the trophy once again.
Sanjeev Baliyan will continue as the coach of the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the upcoming edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. He will be keen to lift the trophy once again for sure.