The Pro-Kabaddi League in the last year has brought the once forgotten sport into the limelight again. The League has garnered just as big a fan following as IPL has. And to the delight of these fans, the Pro-Kabaddi League is going to start its second season this July on the 18th. Pune’s home team The Puneri Paltan are hard at work practicing at the Balewadi stadium before the league starts. We caught up with the team’s manager and coach to find out how the team is doing and what plans they have for this season.
The Puneri Paltan did not fare well in the last season and ended up in the bottom rungs of the ladder, much to the dismay of their supporters. The team has since then, got itself a new coach, Mr. Ashok Shinde, a Kabaddi player himself. Mr. Shinde has been playing for well over 20 years now, and has won many awards including the Shiv Chhatrapati Award and the Arjun Puraskar. He is a Punekar and has been training the Puneri Paltan since the last season ended. “It is definitely a challenge training the team. But I feel like we have a good chance this year as we have added some new players and are going to play each game as it comes”, said Shinde. And that seems to be the new strategy for the team – take it game to game. They aren’t going to focus on the big picture of winning the title as much as they will focus on winning each game they play.
To do this, the team has been training rigorously, having 4-5 training camps, focusing on increasing the fitness level of the entire team. “The fitness level in the last season was very poor, so this year we have amped it up by practicing on both clay as well as indoors on mat covered floor,” said Shinde. The level of determination of the team is corroborated by Mr. Kailash Kandpal, the team’s manager. “This season we are winning it, there’s no doubt about it. It’s all or nothing. In fact, we have started using the hashtag #Gheuntak in all our social media campaigns because we are going to take the trophy home this season.”
With team and pumped and ready to take on their contenders, one can see that this season the Puneri Paltan will be hard to stop. We wish the team all the luck and are sure that the entire city is behind them, cheering them on! #Gheuntak.