The Indian Kabaddi team clinched its 10th gold medal in the Kabaddi event of the 2019 South Asian Games. Led by Deepak Niwas Hooda, the team won all of their preliminary fixtures to reach the Gold Medal match. Eventually, India beat Sri Lanka in the final with a margin of 51-18 and etched their name in the record books yet again.
Pawan Sehrawat got appointed as the vice-captain of this newly revamped India squad that participated in the six-day event held in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was Pawan's maiden stint in national colors, as he got selected following his extraordinary performances in the Pro Kabaddi League and the Senior Nationals.
Nicknamed as the 'Hi-Flyer,' Pawan has taken the Kabaddi world by storm with his precise raiding that has transformed him into a high-caliber player. He scored the most raid points in the sixth and seventh season of PKL, where his raiding heroics took Bengaluru Bulls to win their maiden title in 2018.
Pawan got rewarded as the best raider of the tournament in two back to back seasons with 617 raid points combined. He is known for scripting comebacks in the mightiest of pressure situations with his great attitude.
Sportskeeda spoke to the 'Hi-Flyer' in an exclusive chat in regards to his maiden stint in Indian colours, how he managed to overcome his nervousness and his reaction to winning the Gold medal for his country.
SK: You got announced as the vice-captain of the Indian Kabaddi team for South Asian Games. How did you feel about it since this was your first time playing for India?
It was a huge responsibility for me as the vice-captain for India since I had a little experience only leading Bengaluru Bulls in the absence of Rohit (Kumar) in Pro Kabaddi recently. Deepak led the team comfortably, and I supported him as well. So I felt proud of being named as the vice-captain for India in my first international outing.
SK: Any challenges you faced in the competition?
The challenge for me was with myself. The teams we faced in the competition didn't have prior competency in the sport. So there wasn't any worrying signs there. I was a bit nervous playing for my nation for the first time at the start. But I kept my focus on performing consistently, which helped me to overcome the agitation.
SK: With so many star-studded raiders like Pardeep Narwal, Naveen Kumar, and Deepak Hooda in the same team, how did you consolidate your spot in the line-up?
All raiders have different skillsets and roles to play, whether it be Pardeep, Naveen, Deepak, or me. If I am consistently scoring raid points, then I will lead the attack up front. There wasn't any competition among ourselves as we prioritized scoring raid points right after getting the opportunity to do so. Overall we managed to win the tournament as a unit.
SK: Looking at a possible Kabaddi World Cup in 2020, do you think the current Indian side that won gold at South Asian Games has the potential to take on heavyweights like Iran and South Korea?
The way India played in the South Asian Games this year, especially under the pressure of carrying the legacy of former players, was overall up to the mark. We had a balanced squad for the competition, and every player performed brilliantly. With the same side, we can take on Iran and South Korea on any given day and assure that India takes retribution for its previous losses.
SK: You've had two remarkable seasons in the Pro Kabaddi League recently. Now you have also won a gold medal representing India. What is the next goal you are looking forward to achieve?
It has been a memorable journey for me thus far. If the Kabaddi World Cup is bound to take place next year, my goal is to win the cup for India and claim the gold medal there as well.Published 14 Dec 2019, 12:22 IST