Interview with Pravin Newale: "I wish to inspire youngsters and build a kabaddi culture in Pune"
Puneri Paltan won its first game of season two and lot of it was down to the city’s very own son, Pravin Newale. His seven raid points which included a super raid at a critical juncture in the game triggered Pune’s maiden win of the campaign.
Newale, who hails from Pimpri-Chinchwad, a twin town to the city of Pune spoke to Sportskeeda at length where he opened up about his early life, his commitment to the growth of kabaddi in the city, his Pro-Kabaddi experience and admiration for Amitabh Bachchan and Laxmikant Berde.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. You have been a part of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi since its inception. How has the experience been?
I have played kabaddi for many years where I have represented my state as well as India. But, Pro Kabaddi has been a completely new experience for me. I have enjoyed playing in the league and it has given us and the sport great recognition.
Q. How did you start playing kabaddi? What factors made you take to the game?
Kabaddi is a huge sport in the village where I live. So I was exposed to the game at a very early age. My elder brother used to play kabaddi and I followed what he did and that is how I started playing the game. I have been playing kabaddi since I was 12.
Q. After playing the sport from such an early age, you have now played for Maharashtra and India. How has that experience helped you in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi?
My experience has really come handy. I know most of the players as I have been playing with them for a long time. So, I know how to play against a particular player. I also help many of the youngsters in our squad as to whom to target, whom to be wary of, how to play against a particular player. So my experience gives me an edge.
Q. How important is to have a player like Wazir Singh in your team?
I have played with Wazir for many years and he is one of the best players in the world. He is extremely consistent and has been a regular in the national team. Being a raider, it really helps to have someone like him as he takes the pressure off me and I can then play my game freely.
Q. You have your own club named Om Sai Kabaddi in Pune. Can you tell us something about it?
Om Sai Kabaddi is my own Kabaddi team where a lot of young boys from my village and surrounding villages play and train. Through this team, I help out young budding players and share my experience with them, so its also like an academy and I go there every day in the morning and the evening. Pune has many talented players and I wish to inspire them and build a kabaddi culture in Pune.
Q. So many youngsters look up to you as their role model. Who is your source of inspiration?
I am highly inspired by Amitabh Bachchan. He has his own style and I believe every player should have his or her own style while playing too. He is still going strong in the film industry and is a great inspiration for me. I am also fond of Laxmikant Berde. He is a legend of the Marathi cinema and brought smiles to the faces of every Maharashtrian.
Q. When you are not playing or training, what is it that you love to do the most?
Away from the pitch, I really like to spend time with my family and close friends. I like to hang out with them whenever I get time and that gives great joy. I am also a regular trekker. It refreshes me and also keeps me fit.
Q. What, according to you, has been your greatest achievement so far?
I have been fortunate enough to win a lot of things in my career. Winning the gold medal at the South Asian Games for India was special to me, but my greatest achievement was helping Maharashtra to its first national championship after 25 years in 2008. The wait for glory was too long and it gives me great pride to be part of the side that brought back the glory days to my state.