It is truly said, “Offense wins you games, but defense wins you titles”. These words hold true for this man. Nitesh Kumar, the son of a Kabaddi coach showcased a work ethic and grit that led him the ‘Best Defender’ award in Season 6, thereby driving him to among the elite of Pro Kabaddi. A graduate of the FKHP (Future Kabaddi Heroes Programme), Right Corner Nitesh Kumar had a historic campaign with U.P. Yoddha in the last season.
A bunch of talented players have made it to the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League stage after graduating from the Future Kabaddi Heroes Programme and went on to make a powerful impact in the league but none more so than U.P. Yoddha’s Right Corner player Nitesh Kumar. Being a coach’s kid is an extra weight of responsibility. On one shoulder there is rain of knowledge that one has access to, while on the other, there is the constant pressure with an expectation of being better than the rest. But credit to Nitesh for taking the good and the bad in his pace and uplifting himself to become one of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi’s most promising talents.
Nitesh Kumar Biography
Nitesh Kumar’s father, a former Cover defender himself with years of experience in the sport, has been contributory in guiding Nitesh onto the path that would eventually bring him to the Future Kabaddi Heroes programme. Raised in a family with a history of kabaddi, Nitesh started playing the sport from 7, with support and necessary encouragement from his father and uncle. “A friend, who is also a kabaddi coach himself, told my father about the FKH programme, Nitesh says. My father encouraged me to attend the trials, which he knew would help me develop further as an athlete, at the very least,” he told Prokabaddi.com
During his stint at the FKH programme, Nitesh, a quick learner, lapped up the workings of kabaddi. He not only improved as a defender but also introduced himself to a modern standard of training and development. “What I learned there has helped me become a better player. The training and diet aspects were completely new to me but today I follow them in the offseason as well,” he once stated.
Also Read | Surender Nada Biography
Drafting in U.P. Yoddha
Following Phase 3 of the programme, Nitesh was drafted into the New Young Players’ group for the Season 5 auctions and was snapped up by UP Yoddha for their debut campaign. The young man repaid the faith that the team showed on him. He completed the season as the team’s leading tackle point scorer with 47 points.
After impressive debut season, Nitesh returned for Season 6 with UP Yoddha and made a big impact right off the start, peaking towards the final section of the season. He scored a whopping 25 tackle points in six matches at a staggering strike rate of 78.12, leading UP Yoddha to five wins and a tie in their final six league stage fixtures.
Talking about the personal record, Nitesh broke the single-season tackle points record, surpassing Surender Nada’s 80 tackle points in Season 5 with his astounding 100 tackle points in Season 6. He became the first defender to ever score 100 tackle points in a single season.
Despite their squad boasting of some of the league’s biggest stars like Rishank Devadiga, Prashanth Kumar Rai and Jeeva Kumar, it was U.P. Yoddha’s FKH graduate Nitesh who lit the stage up with his historic campaign last year.
Scoring 100 tackle points in a single campaign is a no small wonder. Nitesh’s efficiency in scoring those points was off the charts. Among players with over 30 tackle points in a campaign, only Fazel Atrachali had a better tackle strike rate (72.22) than Nitesh’s 64.93 and he accomplished that all the way back in Season IV.
Stat attack in PKL : Nitesh Kumar
Nitesh Kumar signature move
Every player in kabaddi has a signature move. Nitesh’s signature is ankle hold. With incredible grip and strength, he grabs the raider’s ankle, often when he’s rushing towards the midline, to force him back and create chance for a tackle.
Interesting Facts of Nitesh Kumar
- Nitesh Kumar’s tally of 100 tackle points in Season 6 is the most by any player in a single campaign.
- His eight High 5s in Season VI are the second-most by a defender in a single campaign.
- Nitesh’s tackle strike rate of 64.93 in last season was the highest among all players with over 30 tackle points.
Season 5 ➡ Yoddha ?
Season 6 ➡ Rivals ⚔
Season 7 ➡ Yoddha again ?
— UP YODDHA (@UpYoddha) June 21, 2019