Rohit Kumar
IANS photos

Rohit Kumar has established himself as one of the best raiders in the country. However, the 30-year-old says that kabaddi, or even other sports, was never in his mind during his childhood. His father's desire to get him into the sport coupled with him seeing Arjuna awardee Rakesh Kumar play got him into kabaddi, he says.

"During my childhood, I didn't have any interest in sports," said Rohit speaking exclusively on Pro Kabaddi's Instagram Live chat show, 'Beyond The Mat.'

Rohit Kumar on his journey

"My seniors from the village used to play kabaddi. I saw Rakesh Kumar along with few others play and that inspired me to play kabaddi. My father used to play kabaddi for a brief period, but he joined Delhi Police.

"He wanted me to play kabaddi, so he used to take me to watch matches in our village with Rakesh and Manjeet. I thought that if I become like Rakesh Kumar, then it will be good. This is how I started, but it wasn't a continuous process, I used to switch between sports. I played athletics and thought of participating in individual sport rather than a team sport."

He said that he would have tried an entirely different career if it wasn't for kabaddi. "If not a kabaddi player, then I would've tried to become an actor," he said.

Pro Kabbadi League
Bengaluru Bulls (red) will go up against Patna Pirates in third-place playoff match in the Pro Kabaddi League.Pro Kabbadi League

Rohit said that he was good at track and field but his father persuaded him to take kabaddi seriously and build a career in the sport. "I was good at 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and high jump. I decided to take up kabaddi as I understood the sport and my father asked me to invest more effort in kabaddi and build a career.

"Gradually, I got to play in the state national team and started enjoying it. I was really happy when I got the kit bag. When I wore the Delhi team's training gear, the thought of wearing India's jersey also crossed my mind and I worked hard towards that."