The kabaddi event of Khelo India Youth Games 2020 witnessed Haryana asserting their dominance in all four categories (under-17 boys, under-17 girls, under-21 boys, and under-21 girls) and clinching the gold medal in all four respective groups. The youngsters from Haryana proved their mettle in the summit clashes and depicted why their state is well-known as the powerhouse of Indian kabaddi.
The event gave an opportunity for budding kabaddi players to showcase their skills and also provided them with a chance to impress scouts of the PKL teams, with the eighth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League slated to be held in a few months from now.
The likes of Pankaj Mohite, Sushant Sail (Puneri Paltan), V Ajith Kumar (Tamil Thalaivas), Sushil Gulia (Jaipur Pink Panthers), and Banty (Bengaluru Bulls) were some of the players who earned contracts from the Khelo India Games last season, and the bunch of youngsters from this edition of the competition will look to follow suit.
As the excitement builds for the upcoming auction ahead of PKL 2020, we look at three kabaddi players who impressed during the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 and could land a contract with one of the franchises.
#3 Anupam Kher
With two wins from three matches, the Gujarat U-21 kabaddi team was knocked out in the group stages of the competition. However, in Gujarat's third fixture against Assam, left corner Anupam Kher was at his absolute best, bagging 10 tackle points that played a big role in his side's 46-24 win.
A remarkable feat that is rare to attain, only three players in the Pro Kabaddi League have been able to notch up 10 tackle points in a single game - Manjeet Chhillar, Surender Nada, and Neeraj Kumar.
Hailing from Ahmedabad, Anupam Kher has represented Gujarat in both the Junior Nationals and Senior Nationals. He has been the recipient of the best defender award in several club and college-level kabaddi tournaments. Anupam is an ankle-hold specialist who can take down any raider with his strong grip.
#2 Aslam Inamdar
An upcoming talent who is yet to feature at a big stage, Aslam Inamdar fared well for a star-studded Maharashtra Under-21 side that included the likes of Pankaj Mohite, Sushant Sail, and Shubham Shinde. Inamdar's terrific raiding skills, along with his signature scorpion kick stole the headlines for Maharashtra in most fixtures.
In Maharashtra's semi-final match against Uttar Pradesh, Inamdar led the raiding charges and scored eight raid points that saw his side qualify for the summit clash with a 38-20 victory.
Aslam, alongside his elder brother Vasim Inamdar played the Sub-Junior Nationals for the first time, where the former first displayed his tremendous ability to catch the defenders off guard. He has played for Union Bank of India and Air India Kabaddi team under the likes of experienced coaches, namely Arun Mhatre and Ashok Shinde. The Thane-born player currently represents Air India and teams up with the likes of Pankaj Mohite and Shubham Shinde.
Aslam also trained in Puneri Paltan's pre-season camp ahead of the seventh edition last year. However, he couldn't get the chance to make it into the squad. A talented raider with exciting raiding skills, many franchises could be expected to involve in a bidding war to sign this upcoming youngster.
#1 Anuj Kumar
The Haryana-born Anuj Kumar was sensational to watch in the kabaddi event of Khelo India Youth Games 2020. He had a vital role in leading Haryana to the gold medal, having represented the same side in Senior National Kabaddi Championship as well.
Anuj Kumar stepped up and established himself as a lead raider for Haryana during critical situations, although the team had quality raiders like Sushil Gulia, Neeraj Narwal, and Ankit Beniwal in the squad as well. With 14 raid points to his name from the semifinal versus Chandigarh and eight raid points against Maharashtra in the final, Anuj Kumar proved his worth as a quality raider.
Anuj was a part of the Haryana squad as part of the 66th Senior National Kabaddi Championship and Pandit Deen Dayal trophy, where his side claimed bronze under the captaincy of star-raider Pardeep Narwal. He is a left raider whose expertise is the running hand touches and quick bonus points.
Courtesy of his brilliant performance in the Khelo India Youth Games event, Anuj Kumar could be a hot prospect to earn a fat sum from the PKL 2020 auction.