The Pro Kabaddi league kicks off on 26th July. There is a lot of excitement surrounding the league as players compete for the first time in a franchise format. The tournament will witness eight teams competing for the top honours.
Manjit Chillar will be leading the Bengaluru Bulls. Manjit is a gold medallist in the National Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He has also won gold at the Asian Indoor games in 2009 and the 2010 Asian games. He claimed bronze at the 2012 Asian beach games.
Manjit is confident of his team putting up a good performance in the tournament. He is also optimistic about the league’s success.
He spoke exclusively to SportsKeeda. The excerpts from the interview:
SportsKeeda (SK): Welcome to Sportskeeda Manjit! This is the first edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. A first of its kind anywhere in the world. There are a lot of expectations from people as this is a first step towards popularising the game. What are your expectations from the league?
Manjit: I am very upbeat about being a part of the league. It will definitely get recognition across the world. After cricket and badminton, it is good to see Kabaddi being played between different franchisees. India have done well in international tournaments and this league can only improve India’s performance for the upcoming events.
SK: You are the captain of the Bengaluru Bulls. How does it feel to be a part of the team? How is the camaraderie within the team?
Manjit: I am excited to be a part of the Bengaluru Bulls setup. The entire team including the support staff and our coach Randhir Singh are making sure that the team trains hard and gels well before the tournament begins. We are confident of making it to the final.
SK: India have won 5 World Cups and are gold medallists in the Asian Games. Do you see players performing well in the league making the cut to the Indian team?
Manjit: I see this as a platform for players to showcase their talent. The selection committee will be observing the games closely. It will be up to them to pick the best team for India.
SK: Are you confident that Kabaddi will be a part of the Commonwealth Games & the Olympics in the near future?
Manjit: The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) is doing it’s best to make sure that Kabaddi will be included in the Commonwealth Games & the Olympics. We need support from other countries to make that happen.
SK: There are plenty of youngsters who are part of various teams in the league. Do you think they will get the right exposure interacting with senior & experienced players in the league?
Manjit: Yes. There is a training camp for all the players two weeks prior to the start of the league. They will also be part of the team during the tournament. It will definitely be helpful for the youngsters to hone their skills and be better Kabaddi players in the future.
SK: You will be teaming up with international players in the league. Do you think you can gel together as a unit?
Manjit: It will be a challenge for the first few days. The team will start to gel right from the training camp. We will get to learn a lot from players of Iran, Pakistan, England and other countries. We hope we can turn the experience into success.
SK: Do you see local Kabaddi teams from several countries compete against each other very much like the Champions league in cricket & football?
Manjit: Yes. There is definitely a scope for that. The game of Kabaddi must be known across the globe. We hope several countries pick up the sport.
SK: Akshay Kumar & Abhishek Bachchan are owners of two teams in the league. Star Sports is the official broadcaster of the league. Do you think the game will get publicity from all sections of the media?
Manjit: I genuinely feel that the media should cover the sport and help us in spreading the sport across the country. Star Sports are doing a great job at promoting the league. Kabaddi is an Indian sport which is played in towns and villages all over the country. I urge the media to support us.
SK: The finals will be played in Bengaluru. Do you think that is an added incentive for the team to perform well as they will receive tremendous home support?
Manjit: We are working hard for the tournament. We are confident of fans coming in large numbers to support our team. We will put up a good show in order to win the title.
SK: There is only one month left for the league to kickoff. What would you like to tell the fans who are looking forward to the league?
Manjit: Please pray for us to do well in the tournament. We are training hard to perform to the best our abilities. Come and support our team.
SK: Thank you Manjit for joining us! Hope you have a good tournament.Published 25 Jun 2014, 19:34 IST