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After taekwondo and wrestling, Patna Pirates’ Tae Deok Eom has found his match in kabaddi

South Korean Tae Deok Eom talks about how he took up kabaddi, his love for India and more

Tae Deok Eom pro kabaddi patna pirates
Tae Deok Eom celebrates during Patna Pirates’ win over Jaipur Pink Panthers

As Patna Pirates trounced Jaipur Pink Panthers to reach the semi-final, there was one man who caught everyone’s eye. Absolutely adored by the gathered Punekars, Tae Deok Eom got the loudest cheer from the crowd every time he went on for a raid and his celebration after every point he won was refreshing to see.

As jolly and bubbly he seems on the pitch, he is as much of a hard worker off it. A physical education teacher back in Korea, ‘Eom’ as he is popularly known is never found sitting idle and is always either taking notes or training to be fitter.

Speaking to Sportskeeda after his heroics left us all in his awe, Eom spoke about his love for India, his journey as a taekwondo player and a wrestler and how he found kabaddi to be the best sport he has ever played.

Eom started his career in the sporting world as a taekwondo player before getting into wrestling until 2009 when he first got the taste of kabaddi. According to Eom, the best part of kabaddi is that it includes skills of many sports at a time.

“Wrestling is an individual’s game while kabaddi is a team sport where the combination is very important. It is the only sport where I believe we need to use the tactics of multiple sports and that’s why I love the sport as it’s so physically challenging,” said the Eom, the captain of the South Korean national kabaddi team.

I love India: Tae Deok Eom

Being at the heart of a country’s transformation from a non-Kabaddi playing nation to Asian games bronze medalist, Eom has seen the sport grow in his country. But the Korean owes that progress to India and their coach from India, Jaybeer Singh.

“In 2012, I along with few other Koreans trained with Mr. Jaybeer Singh in Gandhinagar and he has transformed us. He isn’t a coach for us. He is our father and that’s what we call him. We learnt a lot from India and that’s why I love the country. It’s special for me,” added Eom, revealing how India helped get Korea on the world kabaddi map.

Speaking about bringing some unorthodox play to his kabaddi, Eom revealed he often uses tackles from wrestling and taekwondo in kabaddi. Punei Paltan’s Harvinder Singh was at the receiving end of an Eom special when the Korean knocked the Paltan player out of the court in a single dash.

The Korean revealed that he likes to dominate the raider and that’s what brings these tackles out of him. “I like to dominate the raiders and that’s why I use these tackles from wrestling sometimes,” Eom said recalling his tackle on U Mumba’s Rishank Devadiga when he picked him up and got him off the pitch.

His coach Kartik Sansanwal heaped praise on the 32-year-old and described him as a great student of the game. “His (Eom’s) attitude and dedication for the game is unmatchable. He is the first one to wake up every morning and is the one responsible for getting the entire team up for training. He takes notes after every day’s training and is highly dedicated to the cause. It’s something we all are learning from him,” said the Patna Pirates manager.

So from taekwondo to wrestling and now to kabaddi, and from Korea to India and Patna to Pune, the charming Korean has won many hearts with his sincere performances in this season’s Pro Kabaddi league. He is sure to inspire many more Koreans to take up kabaddi and is the perfect ambassador for the sport, not just in Korea, but also worldwide.

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