HomeAthletesAjay Thakur Biography: Inside the Life of Kabaddi’s Icon
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Ajay Thakur Biography: Inside the Life of Kabaddi’s Icon

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In the recent past, the surge in kabaddi’s popularity in India owes much to the collective efforts of various players who have played a pivotal role in making the sport widely adored and immensely enjoyable. Among these contributors stands Ajay Thakur as a notable figure. Ajay Thakur, born on May 1, 1987, is an esteemed Indian Kabaddi player and the ex-skipper of the Indian National Kabaddi Team. He notably contributed to the victories in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup and clinched a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games. His exceptional achievements led to receiving the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award in 2019. Furthermore, he is an integral part of the Himachal Pradesh Police Service cadre, presently holding the position of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

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About Ajay Thakur | Indian Kabaddi Player

Attribute Details
Full name Ajay Thakur
Nickname(s) Ice Man, King of Kabaddi
Nationality Indian
Citizenship Indian
Born 1 May 1987 (age 36)
Place of Birth Dabhota, Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh, India
Alma mater Government Post Graduation College, Nalagarh
Occupation DSP, Kabaddi Player
Years active 2007-present
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 76 kg (168 lb)
Spouse(s) Sandeep Rana
Country India
Sport Kabaddi
Position Raider
Kabaddi League Pro Kabaddi League
Club Bengaluru Bulls (2014-2015)
Puneri Paltan (2016-2017)
Tamil Thalaivas (2017-2020)
Dabang Delhi (2021-2022)
Team India national kabaddi team, Himachal Pradesh
Coached by Baskaran Kasinathan, Balwan Singh
Medal Record
  • Asian Games
  • Gold medal (first place) in 2014 Incheon – Team
  • Bronze medal (third place) in 2018 Jakarta – Team
  • 2016 Kabaddi World Cup
  • Gold medal (first place) in 2016 Ahmedabad – Team
  • Asian Kabaddi Championship
  • Gold medal (first place) in 2017 Gorgan – Team
  • 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters
  • Gold medal (first place) in 2018 Dubai – Team
  • Asian Indoor Games
  • Gold medal (first place) in 2007 Incheon – Team
  • Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games
  • Gold medal (first place) in 2013 Incheon – Team

Early Days

Born and brought up in Dabhota village in Himachal Pradesh, Ajay knew his calling was in sports since a young age. Coming from a sports family, Ajay got the right support and encouragement from the beginning of his career. Initially, Ajay’s father wanted him to study and choose a more secure profession. However, Ajay was never inclined towards that, so he decided to support his son wholeheartedly.

Ajay’s Journey in Indian National Team

Indian kabaddi team

It was at the Asian Indoor Games of 2007 that Ajay won his first international medal. Since then, there has been no one to stop him. With every tournament, he has proved not only his skills in kabaddi but also leadership skills as a captain. He has led the Indian National Team to glory on multiple occasions. The game has become extremely popular in recent years – all due to players like Ajay Thakur, and this surely is a welcome change. Ajay won another gold at the Asian Indoor Games 2013.

India’s victory at the Asian Games 2014, asserted India’s dominance in the game. Ajay played a crucial role in the tournament.


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2016 World Cup Victory

Ajay Thakur was definitely the star of the 2016 world cup victory. He captured the imagination of the entire nation by scoring a Super 10 in the final against Iran. He believes in leading through his example.

File Photo. Image Source: timesnownews.com

In an exclusive interview after the world cup win, Ajay Thakur told News18,

“My coach used to tell us, keep your spirit high and play with all honesty. Kabaddi and the players will get the recognition one day. Now we feel so proud to be part of the world cup winning team and thankful to the nation who showed their love, emotion and so much support to us. I would like to thank the Prime Minister, the Sports Minister and all the stars for congratulating us and following the game.”

At the Kabaddi Masters in Dubai and Asian Kabbadi Championships, India won the tournament titles without losing a single game. Ajay showed immense class and talent in every game.

2018 Disappointment

Unfortunately, the 2018 Asian Games turned out to be a huge disappointment for Ajay and the team. The team entered the games as the favorites. However, they suffered a heartbreaking defeat against Iran and had to come home with a bronze. The defeat turned out to be even more painful, as Ajay got injured during the game. In an interview with IANS, he shared his thoughts on the tournament. Ajay expressed,

“Losing at the Asian Games was the worst moment of my career as it was under my captaincy. Kabaddi has completely been an Indian game and if such mishappenings take place, it hurts. But today, this game (kabaddi) is not just confined to India. So many countries are playing it and that too, very well. So, now it is not so easy to go and get a medal. The quality of competition is getting better day by day. The game has expanded and today the whole world watches it, as it carries name and fame like other games. No doubt, we feel bad for the loss, but it is good for the growth of the game,”Ajay Thakur injury

The team faced some technical challenges in the game. The mat was not very suitable for raiding. Raiding is Indian team’s biggest strength and Ajay himself is an aggressive raider. Victories and defeats are a part and parcel of any sport. The most important part is how you analyze your defeats and come back stronger.

Ajay Thakur and Pro-Kabaddi League (PKL)

ajay Thakur

Ajay Thakur is one of the top scorers in the Pro Kabaddi League as well. In the first two editions, he played for Bengaluru Bulls. In the third year, he was purchased by the franchise, Puneri Paltan. The team reached the last four stage in both editions. In the fifth season, Ajay was bought by the Tamil Thalaivas. Ajay Thakur played 13 matches and scored 58 raid points while playing for Tamil Thalaivas in PKL Season 7. He is known as Flying Thakur due to his dangerous raiding style. Ajay is definitely one of the most feared kabaddi players!

Though Pro Kabaddi exposed the techniques of Indian players to foreign players, Ajay doesn’t consider this a drawback. The league has brought kabaddi in the limelight. Today, we can see fans discussing teams, players, and techniques. This level of excitement was only seen for cricket and IPL till a few years back. This shows Ajay’s commitment and dedication towards the game. He believes in looking at the bigger picture rather than thinking about defeats a shortcoming. He has time and again asserted that PKL is very important for the growth of kabaddi.

Ajay Thakur Family 

Ajay with his parents

Ajay’s father, Chotu Ram, worked in police and is a former wrestler and coach, himself. His mother Rajinder Kaur is a homemaker. The mountainous terrains of Himachal made Ajay strong and sturdy. His stamina also increased by training there. His cousin Rakesh was a part of the national kabaddi team. Seeing Rakesh represent the country, Ajay was tremendously inspired. He decided to pursue a career in kabaddi as well. Ajay has two siblings, Disha Thakur and Abhinandan Chandel.


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Ajay Thakur Net Worth

It’s estimated that Ajay Thakur’s net worth hovers around Rs. 10-15 Crore in 2023.

Interesting Facts about Ajay Thakur

  • Ajay Thakur is well-known as a do or die specialist. He has delivered during tight situations and tough games.
  • When Ajay first started playing for the national team, he was very skinny. After being mocked by his teammates he gained almost 12 kgs.
  • The best raider in India has many achievements in his name. He was a part of the winning team at the Incheon Asian Games, Dubai Kabaddi Masters, and the World Cup 2016.
  • When he was ten years old, Ajay ran from his house to participate in a kabaddi competition.
  • Ajay Thakur was selected in the Indian National kabaddi team when he was just 19. From a younger player who was mocked for being too skinny, to leading the side to victory at numerous tournaments, he sure has come a really long way.
  • His frog jump and hand touch point style makes him deadly for the opponents. Ajay is definitely one of the swiftest players in the current champions. His height also plays an important part.
Image Source: fangarage.com
  • He was honoured with the Himachal Excellence Award in 2014.
  • He is a member of Himachal Pradesh Police Service cadre.
  • Ajay is a big fan of boxing and wrestling. If not kabaddi, he would have definitely pursued either of the two.
  • His hobbies include listening to music and travelling.

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Achievements

Asian Games

Year Place Event Medal
2014 Incheon, South Korea Team Gold

2916 Kabaddi World Cup

Year Place Event Medal
2016 Ahmedabad Team Gold

Asian Kabaddi Championship

Year Place Event Medal
2017 Gorgan, Iran Team Gold

Dubai Kabaddi Masters

Year Place Event Medal
2018 Dubai Team Gold

Asian Games

Year Place Event Medal
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Team Bronze

Awards

  • Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Kabaddi – Gold Medal [2013]
  • Gold Medal at Kabaddi at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games
  • 2014 Asian Games – Gold Medal.
  • Asian Kabaddi Championship 2017(Gorgan, Iran) – Gold Medal.
  • World Cup 2016 (Ahmedabad, India) – Gold medal
  • Asian Games 2018 (Jakarta, Indonesia)- Bronze Medal
  • Padma Shri award (2019)
  • Arjuna Award (2019)

Social Media

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Mamta Thatte
Mamta Thatte
A passionate foodie, a versatile writer, and now a sports enthusiast, Mamta is always open to exploring new avenues. She has a vast experience in Web Content Writing, Editing, and Social Media Management. A self-confessed coffee and dark chocolate addict, she believes in following her heart and giving her 100% into everything she does.

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