Srinagar: Irfan Ahmad Mir, 20, had no idea about Kabbadi until his school teacher spotted a hidden talent in him.
Mir, a resident of Hazrabtal, Srinagar was among the few students who quickly picked up the basics of the game and emerged as a top-performing player in Srinagar.
From north to south, Mir participated in every Kabbadi tournament in which his skills came in handy for the teams to win the titles.
Come 2022, Mir became the first Kashmiri Kabbadi player whose name featured in auctions for India’s top Kabbadi league.
“For the 9th season of the league, around 500 players from all over the World were shortlisted for the auction. I was the first Kabaddi player from Kashmir whose name featured in the auction. Unfortunately, I went unsold, but I have high hopes for the upcoming league,” he said.
Irfan has been playing for Acme Sports Academy Srinagar, which offers a platform for aspiring Kabbadi payers.
“Right now I am one of the key players for Acme Sports Academy Srinagar. I also played for Midline Academy, ” he said.
Mir said he is eyeing his selection in the National team and Pro Kabbadi league. “I am working hard on my skills and physique. I hope to make it to the India camp and Pro Kabbadi League. To further hone my skills, I am receiving professional training at Mohit Narwal Kabaddi Academy in Haryana,” he said.
At the state level, Mir has bagged scores of the titles, which makes him the first proficient kabaddi player of Kashmir to feature in the country’s top leagues.
“I have a gold medal in national level competition and many other medals at district level as well. I also captained the J&K team in the Yuva Kabbadi League, which is the second top league in the country. CEO of J&K Kabbadi team Kuldeep Kumar Gupta identified a talent in me and chose me to lead the J&K team,” he said.
Mir’s success on the national stage has not only made him a role model for aspiring athletes in Kashmir but has also popularized Kabaddi in the region.
“The popularity of Kabadi is as much here as it is in other states. Gradually, Kabbadi players are getting noticed and many young athletes are coming into this sport. So many young aspiring athletes seek suggestions and learn technicalities from me,” he said.