Being a coach’s kid is a double-edged sword. On one hand there is the ever-flowing river of knowledge that one has access to, while on the other, there is the perennial pressure or expectation of being better than the rest and performing better than the competition. But credit to him for taking the good and the bad in his stride and elevating himself to becoming one of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi's most promising talents.
Nitesh’s work ethic and dedication to kabaddi is second to none and the youngster credits his father for inculcating those values in him. “My father has instilled this belief in me that hard work never goes to waste,” Nitesh tells ProKabaddi.com. “He has always told me that the only thing we can do is work hard. We cannot control where destiny takes us, but what we can control is how hard we work for our goals.”
His father, a former Cover defender himself with decades of experience in the sport, has been instrumental in guiding Nitesh onto the path that would eventually bring him to the Future Kabaddi Heroes programme.
“A friend, who is also a kabaddi coach himself, told my father about the FKH programme,” Nitesh says. “My father encouraged me to attend the trials, which he knew would help me develop further as an athlete, at the very least.”
During his stint at the FKH programme, Nitesh, a fast learner, lapped up the intricacies of the sport taught to him that not only improved him as a defender but in also introducing him to a modern standard of training and development. “What I learned there has helped me become a better player. The training and diet aspects were completely new to me but today I follow them in the offseason as well,” he says, on the impact that FKH has had on him as a kabaddi player.
Following Phase 3 of the programme, Nitesh was drafted into the New Young Players’ pool for the Season 5 auctions and was subsequently snapped up by UP Yoddha for their debut campaign. The youngster repaid the faith that the team showed in him and finished the season as the team’s leading tackle point scorer with 47 points to his name.
Following that promising debut campaign, Nitesh returned for Season 6 with UP Yoddha and made a big impact right off the start, peaking towards the final stretch of the season. He scored a whopping 25 tackle points in six matches at a staggering strike rate of 78.12, leading UP Yoddha to five wins and a tie in their final six league stage fixtures and dramatically securing a playoff spot for the team.
On the personal front, Nitesh also broke the single-season tackle points record, surpassing Surender Nada’s 80 tackle points in Season 5 with his astounding 100 tackle points in Season 6, making him the first defender to ever score 100 tackle points in a single season thereby winning him the ‘Best Defender’ award for the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League Season 6.