With youthful, athletic players like Arjun Deshwal, Naveen Kumar, and Aslam Inamdar leading an Indian raiding force, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat appeared to be a relic from the days when kabaddi was all about muscle and might. But when India set out on a mission to retrieve the gold from the Asian Games, the barrel-chested Sehrawat turned out to be the guy they needed.
In the men’s kabaddi final of the Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou, India faced longtime rivals Iran following convincing victories over other countries. Once more, Sehrawat was enmeshed in the action. Facing one of the top defensive teams in the league, he recorded a Super 10. In addition to being a cunning and calm commander, the raider also takes care to best utilise the resources available to him.
Following the game, Sehrawat had remarked that winning the gold was similar to winning back something that had been taken during a theft. The Asian Games offered him the ideal stage to demonstrate that he was back to his best, and it’s possible that this is the highest reward in kabaddi.
The gold medal winning captain said, “I enjoy the extra responsibility of a captain. It’s a privilege to lead a bunch of such talented players. At the Asian Games, we had something to prove as a team. And that’s what we did. The team management and I told the players to play their game fearlessly. The final went very close, there were times when we were trailing as well, but in our minds, we knew we are not going to lose this match. I feel like we won the psychological battle.”
The Indian team skipper then spoke about his time off the game due to injury. He said, “After the surgery, I spent five to six months in rehab in Bellary. During that phase I had to make sure I make myself strong again. It took me almost six months to get back on the mat. Fitness is the main concern. If you are fit, keeping active, then it doesn’t take long to regain your skills.”