Udup: August 23, 2015: Even before the curtains could fall on the highly successful second season of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) on Sunday, many star performers from the eight franchises have become household names across the country.
The league, which has also opened its door to foreign players, witnessed ten kabaddi players from Karnataka. One of the standout performers from the State, for the second straight season has been Sukesh Hegde.
Playing for the Telugu Titans, Sukesh, the captain of the Karnataka State team, is having a dream run at the moment.
After leading Karnataka to a silver medal in the 35th National Games held in Kerala early this year, the attacking raider has made a mark with his dazzling performances for the Titans.
Following a promising inaugural edition, where he was one of the key men in the Titans’ arsenal, Sukesh has turned out be one of the most valuable players for his team in the second season. The Hyderabad based team’s fine show, which saw them reach the semifinal stage where they went down fighting to Bengaluru Bulls, can be attributed to good team work. But Sukesh has left his own mark with his dominant show and the 26-year old, who won four best raider awards this season, is basking in the glory.
Hailing from Karkala taluk in Udupi, the lanky lad has fought over many obstacles to realise his dreams. "During my childhood, there weren’t many kabaddi clubs and most of our training happened in school," he recollects.
Son of a private driver, financial hardships were part and parcel of his life, but Sukesh remained focused on his first goal and that was getting into the State team. "After my schooling, I moved to Mangaluru and joined Alva’s Moodbidri to bolster my chances of representing the State side. With better facilities and exposure to the game, it was indeed a turning point," he says.
The State call finally arrived in 2011 and since then Sukesh has been a regular feature in the side. A memorable outing in the Senior National Championship last year caught the attention of the Hyderabad franchise and following his debut in the PKL, the youngster has not looked back.
"I am thankful to my trainers who have played an integral role in my journey. It was a great learning experience to work with senior coach Ramesh Suvarna. He has produced many talented players such as Mamatha Poojary and I consider myself extremely lucky to have trained under him.
Recognised for his sharp raiding skills, Sukesh was one of the two Karnataka players to be selected for the six-member Indian squad for the Beach Asian Games, held in Thailand in November last.