Tamil Thalaivas may not have had the best of campaigns but the heart with which they competed in their debut season has won over many fans. They’ve given us several thrilling finishes with the result often being decided on the buzzer raid. Another thing that has stood out from the Chennai camp is their willingness to give relatively unknown youngsters a big role in the team. One such individual who has reaped the benefits of this philosophy is defender Darshan J.

The 20-year-old spoke to prokabaddi.com earlier this season and shared his journey to the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage. “I had a lot of interest in all kinds of sports as a kid. After a while I started playing kabaddi in my school and it all started from there,” he said, “In Karnataka, I used to play in the Dussehra festival. So, my friends and I started a club and from there my interest in kabaddi grew. At the club, we played a lot of tournaments and then I got selected in Pro Kabaddi.” 

On his time at the New Young Players (NYP) programme and his transition from mud kabaddi to mat kabaddi, Darshan added: “The (NYP) experience was really good and I learnt a lot from every player. I had never seen a kabaddi mat in my life [prior to Pro Kabaddi]. Season 5 is the first time I saw a mat after coming to this league.”

Darshan also spoke about how proud his association with the league makes him and the healthy competition within the team. “I feel very happy because it is a big league and everyone is watching me play. I feel proud to play alongside so many senior players. Every team has a lot of young players and Chennai also have a lot of young players. So, there is competition in the team to play in the starting seven,” he concluded.