If there is anyone who is as good as ‘The Wall’ in ‘kabaddi’, fans will agree that it is the tall and lanky Delhiite Rohit Kumar. Hailing from Nizampur, he took the sand by storm in his debut season of the ‘Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League’ itself. Rohit turned into an overnight success for his remarkable run in the third season of the league and propelling his team to success. Loved for taking one for his team and turning its fortune on its head, Rohit Kumar is playing for Bengaluru Bulls in its fourth season. The young raider and defender talked to Anushka Sivakumar on his visit to the city.
You were recognised as the ‘Most Valuable Player’ for your team in your debut season itself. Did you expect that?
I never thought that I would receive any such award. I only wanted to perform for my team. Even now, my aim is to bring ‘Bengaluru Bulls’ to the final round. I am not taking on any pressure. The only strategy I have in mind is to work hard, play harder on the ground and win.
You were part of the team that clinched the gold medal in the South Asian Games earlier this year. How did that feel and what next?
It was a great moment for me and my family. My family always wanted me to represent my nation. The expectations from all sides have gone up, of course. I would like to look at the achievement as a milestone and work harder for the forthcoming Asian Games and the World Cup. I will continue to train everyday and also take care of my diet, which includes ‘badam’, soya beans and milk.
What do you think should be done in India so that ‘Kabaddi’ can become a lot more popular than it is now?
People from all walks of life should come out, support and promote the sport – just like how they have supported cricket. Cricket is where it is now because of the overwhelming support it has received. I think it’s becoming popular as ever since the league has started, people have begun to watch and understand the game. People are now realising that the game is very powerful and though-provoking. I’m confident that ‘Kabaddi’ will become popular in the next 2 years. We players also have to be more careful and watch how we play.
What goes on your mind when you’re facing an opponent?
Nothing. I just see how to react and which move to make, depending on how the game is developing. I just concentrate on my game. Off ground, I enjoy all the cheering and the support from my fans. It feels very nice to hear someone encourage you and scream your name.
What do you do when you aren’t training for ‘kabaddi’?
I love watching movies. I am a big fan of Akshay Kumar.
Why only Akshay Kumar?
I like the fact that he came up through hard work despite having zero connections in the Bollywood industry. The struggles he overcame to be where he is now is inspiring to me.
How do you like Bengaluru?
I love it. The city is very beautiful and different from where I come from — Nizampur in New Delhi. The weather is great here. There isn’t a lot of rain back home. I am happy that the fans here have welcomed me and made me feel at home.