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Fazel Atrachali: A Wrestler Turned into a Kabaddi Star

Fazel Atrachali is expected to lead U Mumba for PKL season 6.
Fazel Atrachali is expected to lead U Mumba for PKL season 6.
Vijay Sain
Modified 01 Apr 2020

When a 30-second raid count begins, many heartbeats go rapid and the level of exhilaration goes sky high. It turns out to be a primary role of a defender to protect their teammates with a show of aggression and ruthless act. But when it comes to the left corner Fazel Atrachali, the words 'aggression' and 'ruthless' actually count as antonyms. Needless to say, Fazel is undeniably one of the most adored foreign players in the game of Kabaddi today.

A respected personality, Fazel has earned a lot of reputation to gain such a fan following which he truly deserves. The reason why I am mentioning this can be depicted by each and every one follower out of 30.2k followers on Instagram if you ask them personally. His class and peaceful defending on the mat comes with a lot of calmness and composure.

It all began when an 11-year-old Fazel started his voyage as a wrestler back in Gorgan, Iran. Because of some personal reasons, his coach had to shift to another place which restricted Fazel from enhancing his wrestling abilities. Next up was football. Fazel's high school years saw him as a great footballer which he was but his tenderness wasn't with football. He wanted to make a name for himself in the growth of Iran in Kabaddi.

A gap of around 7-8 years in between is when Fazel didn't stop training hard. Many of his mates came to him as thunderous dark clouds do, trying to convince him that there wasn't any future of Iranian Kabaddi. Those mysterious faces would have shaken with laughter if someone told them Fazel Atrachali would one day get a cheque of ₹1 crore in the Pro Kabaddi League in 2018.

Fazel is known for his body blocks which are beyond glorious if you observe them carefully showing signs of his wrestling potential and his waist holds pulling the raider apart from his reach. Atrachali was handpicked by the selection committee and thus played Asian Games 2010 and 2014 which saw him making a career in India's biggest Kabaddi league, Pro Kabaddi.

It was the Surender Nada-Mohit Chhillar combination duo which had the limelight that saw Fazel warming up the benches for a lot of matches for U Mumba. A 6-tackle point show versus Bengal Warriors with one solo block turned waist hold on Jang Kun Lee wasn't enough to make it into the playing 7.

January 2016 saw the SuMo duo representing Team India during PKL itself which allowed Fazel to make it into the playing 7 on a regular note. The extraordinary defence compelled E. Bhaskaran to try a new combination of Atrachali - Mohit Chhillar leading U Mumba to the finals.

If you overview Fazel Atrachali's career, season 4 was truly a breakout season for him. He led the top charts gaining 52 tackle points in 16 matches (average 3.25 tackle point per match) forming deadly combinations with Hadi Oshtorak and Dharmaraj Cherelathan.

A highlight moment of his career came versus the same man who captained him twice, a perfectly executed waist block which Kabaddi fans are much nostalgic about. Also in season 5 when the teams got bigger and bolder, the Iranian pillars of corner defence (Abozar Mighani and Fazel Atrachali) managed 122 tackle points where their convos in Persian on the mat and swift timing was the reason Gujarat Fortune Giants made it to the runner-up's position.


Impressively, Fazel Atrachali is the only foreign defender in Pro Kabaddi history to have crossed a century of tackle points having 152 tackle points in 230 tackle attempts with 11 high 5s. Ever since making his debut from season 2, Fazel has represented his team in the finals everytime making him 2-time gold and 2-time silver medal holder in PKL.

Fazel and team Iran are ready to give India a tough competition at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018. Also, a perfect homecoming is assured when Fazel Atrachali returns to U Mumba, the team where it all began for Fazel. Nostalgic faces like Abolfazel Maghsoudlu and Dharmaraj Cherelathan will be joining him as a team once again. "It is working well together, that wins matches in Kabaddi." is what Fazel believes in. Alluring sights are guaranteed in the days to come!

Published 17 Jul 2018, 02:47 IST
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