UP Yoddha skipper Nitesh Kumar is celebrating his 23rd birthday today. One of the top defenders in the league and the country right now, Nitesh is a young Kabaddi player who has quickly made a name for himself. A son of a former Kabaddi player, Nitesh started to play Kabaddi since the age of 7 years.
He is a graduate of the Future Kabaddi Heroes program and was picked up by UP Yoddha in PKL Season 5, which was also their maiden season in the tournament. A right corner and master of ankle hold, Nitesh quickly rose to prominence in his debut season as well.
Nitesh went on to score 47 tackle points in his debut season and was the team's leading defender ahead of an experienced Jeeva Kumar. He returned with the team for PKL 2018 and went on to change the face of the game. He scored 100 tackle points from 25 matches, the most by any defender in a single season. With eight High 5s to his name, he was named 'Defender of the Season'.
Owing to his amazing form, Nitesh was retained by UP Yoddha and was also made the skipper of the team for Pro Kabaddi 2019. In his very first season as a captain, Nitesh led the team to play-offs. However, they went on to lose to Bengaluru Bulls in the first eliminator. He also finished as the third-best defender of the season with 75 tackle points from 23 matches.
Nitesh was also a part of the Indian team that went on to participate in the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal. It was his debut tournament for the Indian men's Kabaddi team. India went on to win a gold medal at the tournament, continuing their dominance in the Kabaddi circuit in the world.