Anup Kumar, one of the most impactful kabaddi players the country has seen, on Wednesday announced his retirement with immediate effect, drawing curtains to an illustrious 15-year career.
A veteran in the sport, Arjuna awardee Anup began his international career in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. He led India to gold medal at the Asian Games and was also part of the team which repeated the feat in the 2014 edition.
The 35-year-old had also led India to memorable Kabaddi World Cup title triumph in 2016.
In season 2 of the Pro Kabaddi League, Anup captained U Mumba and led the team to victory.
"When I started playing kabaddi, it was a great hobby and over the years a hobby became the most important part of my life. The day I took to playing kabaddi professionally, I had one dream, to represent my country and bring back a gold medal," Anup said.
"I am one of the few lucky people who had the opportunity to accomplish the most important dream of my life. Today, with the Pro Kabaddi League, the magnitude of the sport has grown by leaps and bounds and I could not be happier than to watch and grow and be a part of this journey.
"Coincidentally, today is also the 10th birthday of my son, and that makes this date even more memorable. Going forward, if there is anything I am confident about, it is knowing that I will always want to be connected to the sport," he added.
Reacting to the announcement, Pro Kabaddi League Commissioner Anupam Goswami, said, "This is a great decision by a great player from a great stage of kabaddi. Anup has been a senior player and a role model athlete for this sport. We totally respect his decision."
Ronnie Screwvala, team owner U Mumba, said, "When I heard of Anup Kumar's retirement, I have to say it didn't surprise me because he is one of the smartest and intelligent players in Kabaddi. He gets his sense of timing on the field and I think he gets his timing when he is looking at his own career off the field as well." PTI SSC AT
(With inputs from agencies.)