Pro Kabaddi League: Do You Know Who is the Oldest Player to Play in the PKL History?
Dharmaraj Cheralathan, fondly known as 'Dharmaraj Anna,' stands as a stalwart in the realm of kabaddi, leaving an indelible mark with two decades of extraordinary prowess on the mat. His legacy is cemented as the oldest player to grace the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), showcasing resilience and skill that defies age.
Born on April 21, 1975, in Thiruchanampondi village, Tamilnadu, Cheralathan's journey into kabaddi began at the Sun Paper Mill in Tirunelveli in 1995. His early passion for the game laid the foundation for a remarkable career that transcended international borders.
Cheralathan's international debut for the Indian kabaddi team in 1999 marked the beginning of a journey that would see him don the jersey of seven different PKL franchises. His last appearance for the Jaipur Pink Panthers in Season 8 at the age of 46 solidified his status as the oldest player in PKL history.
Known for his signature move, the ankle hold, Cheralathan's PKL saga started with the Bengaluru Bulls, followed by stints with the Telugu Titans. Captaining the Patna Pirates in Season 4, he achieved the highest number of successful super tackles. Season 6 saw him lead U Mumba, amassing 40 tackle points and showcasing his enduring spirit.
At the age of 45, Cheralathan took on the captaincy for the Haryana Steelers in Season 7, leaving an indelible mark as an inspirational figure. In a historic move in Season 8, he joined the Jaipur Pink Panthers, becoming the first player in PKL history to be part of 7 different franchises.
Beyond his PKL exploits, Cheralathan's career boasts 9 gold medals, including the Kabaddi National Championship, Pro Kabaddi League, Southeast Asian Games 2017, and the Asian Beach Games 2017. His versatility as a corner defender, adept at ankle holds and covering positions, set him apart in a demanding contact sport.
Cheralathan's strategic acumen and ability to guide the team from the back seat showcased a player who transcended age, embodying hunger and drive. His charged-up presence on the mat remained a formidable sight even in his forties.
Contributing to the Indian Railways Kabaddi team in the Senior National Kabaddi Championships, Cheralathan's international achievements include a pivotal role in India's triumph at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, solidifying his status as a kabaddi legend.
As the curtain falls on Dharmaraj Cheralathan's playing career, his legacy as the oldest player in PKL history will be remembered as a testament to skill, dedication, and an enduring love for the game that transcends age.