written by Piyush Singh Thapa
After a stellar show at the K7 Kabaddi competition earlier this year, 18-year-old Mohit Goyat is now ready to impress again when he takes the center stage in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). Goyat, who hails from Bhiwani District in Haryana, was roped in by Puneri Paltan for Rs 8 lakh in the auction.
The young raider, who idolises Naveen Kumar Goyat, one of the finest kabaddi players of the country, started his journey at the tender age of 11 and will now be seen competing against his idol in the upcoming PKL season, which starts from December 22.
In this exclusive interview with zeenews.com, the youngster discusses his introduction to the sport and the goals that he has set for himself as he gears up for his maiden appearance in the country's most popular kabaddi tournament.
Here are the excerpts:
Picking kabaddi over cricket, despite the latter being more popular among the youth. Did you ever reconsider your decision?
"In my area, kabaddi is as popular, if not more popular than cricket. It is a way of life for my community. So, me choosing Kabaddi wasn't something I even reconsidered."
Kabaddi as a sport is still picking up with the buzz around the sport more or less limited to PKL, as a youngster what changes would you like to see so that the engagement increases?
"The national audience may see us only during PKL, but we are playing all year round, even during the lockdown there was one junior national (AIMKC, Gotegaon) and two K7 Kabaddi events where I and my peers were able to feature in."
"I would like more kabaddi that we already play to come online on different platforms so all audiences can see us all the time. And performing for an audience is always a great experience, so I would like to see audiences coming to events. The K7 Kabaddi this year and PKL are both going to be without audiences. I hope that changes soon."
Can you tell us more about your journey, from a rookie to now a drafted PKL player?
"My coaches have told me that I have the talent of timing, being able to do the right thing without thinking. But I feel this has come about because of all the hours of training I've put in. In all the age group events I've always aimed to deliver my best performance."
"At K7 Kabaddi, I was the lead raider for my team in the Qualifiers, held in March 2021, but then I was playing support raider in the early parts of the K7 Stage UP event, held in July 2021. I am always looking for ways to be useful on the mat. Now with coach Anup Kumar (ex-India kabaddi player), I look forward to becoming a more complete right raider. After all, I can learn from the best in the business."
You were roped in by the Pune franchise for Rs 7.98 lakh. Do you see the stakes going up after your first season?
"After my performance at K7 Kabaddi, I was quite confident that some team would find my skills up to the mark. I am very happy to have gotten selected for PKL this year and excited to play in December, but it is definitely my goal to get better and better- as an athlete, as a performer. And use my skills to help the teams I play for to succeed."
"Result and monetary growth are secondary. To become a better athlete is my main focus."
After an eye catchy performance in the K7 Qualifiers and K7 Kabaddi Stage Up, where he emerged as the top raider with 174 points, Goyat is now under the supervision of coach Anup. The 18-year-old will be joining veteran players like Rahul Chaudhari and Nitin Tomar in the Pune camp.