Panchkula (Haryana): India's former World Cup winning captain Anup Kumar on Wednesday announced his retirement from Kabaddi, ending a 15-year iconic career.
Anup announced his retirement ahead of a Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 6 match, where he represents the Jaipur Pink Panthers.
A veteran in his sport, Arjuna Awardee, Anup began his international career in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. He was part of the national team that won gold medals in 2010 and 2014.
Thereafter, he captained the national team in 2014 and it was during his tenure that the team won 2 gold medals at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 and the Kabaddi World Cup in 2016.
In season 2 of the Pro Kabaddi League, Anup captained U Mumba and led the team to victory.
Announcing his retirement, Anup said: "I started playing kabaddi because I liked it and it was a great hobby, over the years a hobby became the most important part of my life."
"The day I took to playing kabaddi professionally, I had one dream, to represent my country and bring back a gold medal, I am one of the few lucky people who had the opportunity to accomplish the most important dream of my life."
"Today, with the PKL, the magnitude of the sport has grown leaps and bounds and I could not be happier than to watch and grow and be a part of this journey. This platform is an extremely important aspect of my life and that is why today I use the platform to make this announcement," an emotional Anup added.
Anup further said that he will aim to be associated with the sport even after he hangs his boots.
"Coincidentally, today is also the 10th birthday of my son, and that makes this date even more memorable. Going forward, if there is anything I am confident about, it is knowing that I will always want to be connected to the sport," he said.
Reacting to the announcement, PKL League Commissioner Anupam Goswami said: "This is a great decision by a great player from a great stage of kabaddi. It is also for the first time a senior player has announced his retirement of his playing career during an ongoing season of Pro Kabaddi."
"Just shows the importance kabaddi players attach to a league like Pro Kabaddi. Anup of course has been a senior player and a role model athlete for this sport. We totally respect his decision," Goswami added.