For Tamil Thalaivas’ Athul MS, Season 6 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi is proving to be one where he finally comes of age. He has played the role of a secondary raider to perfection for his team, supporting the dynamic Ajay Thakur every opportunity he got. The tall raider has outperformed many veterans of his team and is currently the second most successful raider for his team.
One of his most courageous moments on the kabaddi mat came in the match against Bengaluru Bulls this season. Pawan Kumar Sehrawat was running riot and Tamil Thalaivas needed a moment of inspiration to stage a come back in the game. Not content with just contributing to the team’s cause in the raiding department, Athul tried something he wouldn’t normally do as a raider; he went in for a Back Hold on the man who was single-handedly taking the game away from his team.
Though his attempt ended up unsuccessful and Sehrawat managed to return to his half successfully, Athul’s commitment towards getting his team back in the game was clear to all.
“I tried my best,” recalls Athul in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com, “In that moment I needed to score a point for my team in any way possible and I was feeling confident that I could catch him.”
“That attempted tackle was the most courageous thing I have done on the mat.”
However, that feat aside, Athul’s story from the pre-season training camp to the team, too, has been one of utmost courage.
“I had an ankle injury during the camp and it took a very long time to get better. I couldn’t play till I had fully recovered so that was one of the toughest experiences I have ever been through,” Athul says, “Coming back from an injury and making the team is not easy at all and the waiting during the recovery period is extremely difficult and frustrating.”
Instead of letting the wait bog him down, Athul decided to further work on his fitness. He kept his body active by training every day in an indoor stadium near his house till he was fit enough to train with his team again. This additional training in fitness showed in Tamil Thalaivas’ first game of the season where he used his pace and lower body strength when he came on as a substitute to score 7 points from 8 raids and help the team to victory over Patna Pirates.
“Fitness is everything. Our game depends on how fit we are as players. I pay a lot of importance to my fitness,” Athul narrates, “During the season we have a trainer to work with us but I make sure to regularly go to the gym and run even in the off-season.”