There is a lot more at stake for kabaddi players at the Khelo India Youth Games here besides the medals in offing — they have a chance to impress scouts from the Pro Kabaddi League and bag lucrative contracts.
Of the over 4,500 athletes here in Panchkula, battling for gold and glory, some of the kabaddi players who are here are expecting to sign potentially lucrative deals that could overnight make them millionaires.
As many as six Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) teams have sent their talent scouts here, hoping to discover some unpolished gems.
“Some of us also went for the Khelo India University Games. But these Games are for Under-18 players which means we can sign them up without going through the rigmarole of auction,” Patna Pirates deputy coach M.V Sundaram, who is here with his team manager and a scout, was quoted as saying by the organisers.
As all the players who have participated in the Senior Nationals directly go into the auction pool, the teams are left with the arduous task of filling seven New Young Players spots. Most of them prefer to sign these youngsters for two years and hone them into champions.
It is learned that several players are already in their sights and will soon be invited for trials. KIYG players are typically absorbed to train with the main team so that they learn on the job.
“We have seen almost all the matches. The players are quite good, with great skills and physique,” Tamil Thalaivas’ head coach Uday Kumar, disclosed.
The players might not get a break in the upcoming PKL season but they are still very excited. Each of them could be richer by a few lakh rupees, which is enough to change their lives forever, as a number of them are from a difficult financial background, the release said.
U-Mumba and Army Green coach Anil Caprana was also impressed with what he saw and conceded that picking players at this young age is a win-win situation for both.
“We might be looking at junior boys here. But there is some really go”d talent on view,” he said, adding, that players selected for U-Mumba or the Army team would get the financial stability and also an opportunity to focus on their career development.
“As they play more they will improve and they can also earn good money,” he added.