10 facts about Dharmaraj Cheralathan as he turns 45
Dharmaraj Cheralathan, a name associated with Kabaddi from years is celebrating his 45th birthday today. The Haryana Steelers' skipper might be the oldest Kabaddi player in the professional circuit right now, but he still gives the top raiders of the country a run for their money. Dharmaraj is fondly known as 'Anna' (or big brother) by the whole Kabaddi community. There is one word which comes to mind when we talk about Anna - "discipline".
As the youngster celebrates his 45th birthday, here are some lesser-known facts about the defender:
1. Born on 21st April 1975, Cheralathan started playing Kabaddi since he was 12-13 years old. He began his career with Sun Paper Mill in Tirunelveli in the year 1995. He started playing for the Indian Kabaddi team from the year 1999. His then teammates were Rambir Singh, BC Ramesh, and Sanjeev Kumar.
2. Dharmaraj has been employed with the Indian Railways since the year 1997 and is a member of the Railways Sports Promotional Board Kabaddi team. Having played with them for 24 years, he recently won the 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championships in March 2020 at Jaipur. He works in the South Central Railway division and is also a part of their Kabaddi team.
3. Dharmaraj plans to start organic farming once he retires. Anna is known for his disciplined adherence to diet and even cooks his own meals during tours. He also plans to set up playgrounds for youngsters to practice Kabaddi.
4. In Pro Kabaddi, Dharmaraj sits on the eighth position in the defenders' list with 259 points from 118 matches. What these points do not do justice to is the number of support tackles Anna is a part of. With Anna on your side, you can be sure to get support for any half decent tackle, thus improving the overall morale of the defense.
MORE ABOUT ANNA : Anna's Stats | How Anna is grooming his son into a Kabaddi player?
5. He specializes in Block and Bear hug, making him one of the strongest players in the sport and a nightmare of the raiders.
6. Most of the players like Anup Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, and Manpreet Singh with whom Dharmaraj used to play with have retired and become coaches to various teams. And young guns like Naveen Kumar and Vishal Bharadwaj were not born when Anna started his career!
7. Dharmaraj has played a lot under the coaching of Randhir Singh, the current Bengaluru Bulls coach. He says that he had played under Randhir for 18 long years when he used to be a part of the Indian Railways coaching unit.
8. The 45-year old youngster was a part of the Indian team that won the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
9. Dharmaraj has played for half the Pro Kabaddi franchises at present. He was a part of Bengaluru Bulls (PKL Season 1 and 2), Telugu Titans (PKL Season 3), Patna Pirates (Winner - PKL Season 4), Puneri Paltan (PKL Season 5), U Mumba (PKL Season 6) and Haryana Steelers (PKL Season 7).
10. At 44 years, he was the oldest player to captain any team in Pro Kabaddi. He was named the skipper of Haryana Steelers in the PKL 2019.