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He is the Captain Cool. The Bonus ka Badshah who can turn around any game. The dynamic raider who sent shivers down his opponents. We are talking about none other than Anup Kumar, one of the most talented kabaddi players India has produced. Life has indeed come a full circle for Kumar. After soaking in all the knowledge and technique, he now has a chance to influence others as the coach of the Puneri Paltans.
Known for his signature toe touch move, where he extends his leg to touch an unsuspecting defender with just his toes, and his brilliant captaincy, Anup Kumar has always been a motivational player.
Was kabaddi always a plan for him? What is the secret of his immense strength? We explore these and many more aspects of this talented former kabaddi player’s life.
Anup Kumar Biography
After his completing his basic education, Kumar joined the CRPF in 2005. It was there that the prospect of pursuing kabaddi seriously crossed his mind. Amarsingh Yadav, the coach of the CRPF kabaddi team, was mighty impressed with Kumar and played a key role in providing opportunities to Kumar. Meeting the Indian camp in 2005, interacting with the players was very beneficial. Also, his inherent talent was visible to everyone.
Anup Kumar’s first big break turned out to be the 2006 South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. His international career took flight with his golden debut in the 2010 Asian Games. He won gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Games. The 2014 Incheon Asian Games final saw a very closely competed for match against Iran. The Indian team gave a tough fight and held on to their lead. Kumar described the moment in an interview with the Sportskeeda.
“Iran had 2 players and I had gone to raid. I got tackled and then I got very nervous and thought I lost the gold for India. I felt very bad. Then we had only a 1-point lead, but held on for the win. I will never forget that moment.”
He continued his golden run with another medal at the 2016 South Asian Games. The captain led his boys to World Cup glory in 2016. His brilliant leadership and the ability to keep his cool in tense situations made earned him the moniker ‘Captain Cool.’ He was also known as ‘Bonus ka Badshah” considering his success in taking bonus points.
Pro Kabaddi League
U Mumba (2014 – 2017)
During your time with us, you’ve been our hope, our inspiration, our leader and our friend. You made the world take notice. Thank you Legend! Kabaddi will miss you! #Mumboys and the fans will definitely miss you! #ThankyouAnup #KabaddiLegend #UMumba #MeMumba #ProKabaddiLeague pic.twitter.com/1ykIF1LlmH
— U Mumba (@U_Mumba) December 20, 2018
He was the highest scorer in the inaugural league with 169 points. Kumar led the U Mumba team to three consecutive finals (1,2,3). In 2014, he won the Most Valuable Player of PKL award.
Jaipur Pink Panthers (2018)
All smiles for Captain Cool ??#RoarForPanthers #JaiHanuman#JaipurPinkPanthers #JPP #Jaipur #Kabaddi #ProKabaddi #VivoProKabaddiLeague #ProKabaddiLeague #India #VivoProKabaddi #LetsKabaddi #KhelKabaddi #PKL #LePanga #StarSports #Panther pic.twitter.com/Mf6eSvbsz7
— Jaipur Pink Panthers (@JaipurPanthers) January 4, 2019
Anup Kumar: The Coach
After a stellar career of over 12 years, Anup Kumar announced his retirement on 19 December 2018. Along with that announcement, he told his fan that he wasn’t going to lose contact with the kabaddi world. He had something major planned.
The captain cool soon became the cool coach! He is currently the coach of the team Puneri Paltans. With his experience and guidance, the youngsters from the team are already benefitting.
“We have played together, and now that he (Anup) is a coach, I have good tuning with him. He used to tell the players what are their mistakes and shortcomings before as well now he is doing that as a coach. He’s like an elder member in a family and talks to others like they are his younger brother. He also makes us understand things by talking politely like an elder member does,” Surjeet Singh told SportsCafe.
15 illustrious years, 1 living legend! ?
He dominated the game as a player, and now @IamAnupK is set to take on a new role!
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) April 23, 2019
In an interview with the Livemint, Kumar explained the glamour of being a rider, along with the immense responsibility.
“Who doesn’t want to be popular? Being a raider means all the focus is on you. It also means more pressure and more risk of injury.”
“You have to adapt. For instance, I was known for my toe touch in Season 1. But I don’t do it as often now, and I can’t keep doing it all the time because defenders are on their guard. Also, I don’t have the speed any more to perfect it. Age is catching up. I have to play more with strategy now; go for the kill only when I know the defenders are loose,” he continued.
Anup Kumar was born and brought up in a small village, Palra, in Gurgaon district. His parents are Ransingh Yadav and Ballo Devi. His father is a former Subedar Major from the Indian Army. Though Kumar was a strong, well-built Haryanvi, playing seriously kabaddi was never the plan. As a kid, he used to play kabaddi with his friends as a pass time.
Interesting Facts about Anup Kumar
- Anup Kumar holds the position of Deputy Commissioner of Police with Haryana state.
- For his fitness, Kumar prefers natural, homemade meals instead of taking any supplements. He includes lot of dry fruits and milk in his diet.
- Kumar loves to go on long hikes.
- His favourite actor is Amitabh Bachchan.
The most important… Awaited moment of every player's life…. When your work, dedication was awarded by your country !! pic.twitter.com/rkzXGgXh9O
— Anup Kumar (@IamAnupK) April 23, 2019
Arjuna Award, 2012
Kabaddi World Cup
|Incheon, South Korea
South Asian Games
|Guwahati and Shillong, India
— Anup Kumar (@IamAnupK) July 21, 2019
— Anup Kumar (@IamAnupK) July 13, 2019
Wishing Captain Cool, @IamAnupK, a very Happy Birthday! Thank you for your support and guidance to the #Panthers and thank you for being an inspiration to the younger Kabaddi players.#RoarForPanthers #JaiHanuman#JaipurPinkPanthers #JPP #Jaipur #Kabaddi #ProKabaddi pic.twitter.com/OdO27FRXjL
— Jaipur Pink Panthers (@JaipurPanthers) November 20, 2018