Deepak Madhav, a Telugu Yoddhas mainstay, shared his journey, one that was full of challenges and difficulties that led to him playing for the Telugu Yoddhas in Ultimate Kho Kho 2022.
Madhav is a seasoned campaigner who has been playing kho kho for over a decade. He explained how he wanted to pursue a career in sports but could never decide which sport he wanted to play. He discussed the benefits of kho kho, including the fact that it is a low-cost sport.
“I have been playing Kho Kho for the past 12-13 years. When I was in school, I had an interest in sports but I could not choose which sport to play. Everyone used to play cricket but it was an expensive sport. Kho Kho is a game that can be played without much expenditure.”
The 27-year-old began as a Langdi player before switching to kho kho after being chosen by his school teacher to participate in the sport.
“There used to be a sports competition at our school with many sports such as langdi etc. Our sir used to select players for each game. Initially, I used to play Langdi. After that, I was selected into Kho Kho.”
The skilled defender revealed his difficulties during the lockdown, during which his fitness levels dropped and he was unable to compete in the Nationals, a huge blow after which Madhav considered his sporting career to be over.
“I was unable to practice during the lockdown and that’s why my fitness levels dropped. So when the next Nationals came around after the lockdown, I couldn’t participate. I was livid at myself for not being able to participate.” He added:
“I thought my career was over since I missed the Nationals and I thought no team would pick me in this league either. However, I had some hope and I kept practicing and improved my fitness. Thankfully, the selection was not done solely on the basis of the past Nationals.”
Madhav was also pleased with the attention he began to receive after appearing on television. He hopes that the league continues to grow in stature so that future generations can find work.
“There are posters of Ultimate Kho Kho all over the place.” People now know me by my given name and surname. I’ve even received some attention on social media. Kho kho will provide employment as well as a stage for the next generation. “I’m hoping this works out.”
Telugu Yoddhas have qualified for Qualifier 2 after some outstanding performances, and will look to defeat the Gujarat Giants in order to face the Odisha Juggernauts in the tournament finals.