Ajay Thakur won the Padma Shri award. The kabaddi star and national captain took the fourth highest civilian award on India’s Republic Day. Kabaddi is certainly more popular because of Ajay Thakur’s contribution to the sport.
Thakur commented: “I was just speechless when I came to know about it. I didn’t know how to react. No other player from this sport has received such a prominent award. I think the government has also started recognizing its popularity.”
Thakur is confident that kabaddi will not only grow in popularity but will become the most popular game in India.
When he received the award, Thakur thanked his parents, and his coach Nandlal Thakur for his success.
Ajay Thakur’s Influence on Kabaddi
In 2016, Thakur won the Kabaddi World Cup. He was the top scorer in the tournament, which was a highlight in his career.
In 2018, Thakur captained the kabaddi team at the Asian Games. The team won bronze, and he saw it as a low point in his kabaddi career. He felt that because kabaddi is an Indian game, it hurts when India miss the gold. The competition, however, is good for the sport.
“A game’s popularity depends on how many countries play it. Earlier, just India used to play it, and win every time, and that wasn’t a big thing. Because of PKL (Pro Kabaddi League), kabaddi has crossed boundaries and the competition level has increased.”
Pro Kabaddi League
Thakur praised the Pro Kabaddi League for helping the sport to grow in India and other locations.
He said: “If the PKL wasn’t there, kabaddi wouldn’t have reached such heights. Just see how this rural Indian game has expanded in such a short span of time. This league has helped the game grow not only in India but also in other countries.”