10 things you need to know about Indian kabaddi and Telugu Titans star Rahul Chaudhari
Since the inception of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), Telugu Titans captain Rahul Chaudhari has been one of it’s biggest stars. His undisputed talent on the mat along with his charisma has seen the Uttar Pradesh boy quickly build a large fan following.
The best raider of Season 1 has been putting up yet another dazzling show in Season 4 and is currently reigning atop the raiders’ leaderboard. As Rahul aims to take his team to their first ever PKL title, here are 10 things you need to know about the poster boy of PKL:
1. Rahul Chaudhari was born on June 16, 1993 in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh. It was his elder brother’s love for kabaddi that stirred his passion for the sport when he was just 13 years old and he soon took to the game.
2. Despite their parents’ objections, the two brothers would keep on nurturing their kabaddi skills. Rahul, who started out as a defender, was subsequently sent to Gujarat for a training camp after being selected in a Sports Authority of India (SAI) trial.
“In the initial days, there was hardly any family support. Our parents would scold both of us and tell us to focus on our studies instead of wasting time on kabaddi. Subsequently, there was a trial held in our village from Sports Authority of India (SAI), Gandhinagar and I was sent to Gujarat for a training camp,” he said.
3. It was in Gandhinagar that the 23-year-old gradually switched to a full-fledged raider and sharpened his attacking skills further. That got him a call from the Army, which he rejected, before he started playing for Air India.
Rahul explained, “Very soon after that (stint at SAI, Gandhinagar), I got an offer from the Army to play for them. I felt it came too early and I needed more practice. So, I did not join them and later on got to play for Air India.”
4. The Telugu Titans coach J Udayakumar spotted him and he was selected by the Titans in 2014. Rahul, who is now in his fourth consecutive seasons with the Hyderabad-based team, had a spectacular start to his PKL career. With a staggering 151 raid points and a success rate of 8.79 raids per match, the Bijnor boy grabbed the prestigious ‘Raider of the Tournament’ award in the inaugural season.
5. Rahul continued to impress throughout the four seasons thanks to his sharp raids, aerial agility and alertness. That helped him to become the first player in the history of the league to cross the imposing 400 raid points mark when he guided his side to a 32-29 win over Puneri Paltan in Season 4.
6. Apart from his Pro-Kabaddi success, he also led the Indian national kabaddi team to a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Beach Games. In 2016, he was a part of the national squad that scooped up the yellow metal at the South Asian Games.
7. He also captained the Uttar Pradesh team to their first ever gold medal at the National Kabaddi Championships held in Bengaluru in 2015.
“My state Uttar Pradesh had never won any gold in the National Kabaddi Championships before 2015, even though they had clinched the bronze medal multiple times. I captained the UP team to its first Nationals gold at Bengaluru last year. It was indeed a great feeling,” the 23-year-old gushed.
8. He has often said that his biggest goal as a kabaddi player is to win the Arjuna award. Rahul also hopes that kabaddi will get included at the Olympic Games one day and he will get a chance to represent his country.
9. Besides being a terror for his rival sides at the PKL, the 23-year-old also has other talents. He recently acted in a music video (Dil Mera by Raj Lamba) upon the insistence of a relative.
About the unique experience, he said, “I told them to ensure that the shooting location is not too crowded which helped me to relax and feel confident. The final video turned out to be very good and I liked it.”
10. Rahul Chaudhari is a big fan of old songs and swimming, which he says helps him to relax both physically and mentally.