Our ace defender, Deepak Madhav, has been playing Kho Kho for over a decade. The 27-year old has become a key member of the Gujarat Giants, but his journey thus far has not been easy.
Deepak had just started to make a name for himself in his Kho Kho career when his father suffered a serious health issue. That incident compelled him to work as a newspaper vendor as well as a milk seller. Talking about his struggles and the reason why he chose Kho Kho, he said, "Kho Kho is a sport which does not need more than a shorts and sandal and a ground to play. Most of the other sports needed a lot of effort which, at that moment, was not possible because my father had a heart surgery then. So, the burden was mostly on my brother so pursuing any other sport was not a big possibility.”
Deepak always wanted to play for Railways. He worked hard and did not let anything come in the way of achieving this dream. "When I started playing Kho Kho, I was always selected for the state but was never able to break into the nationals. Always in the stand-bys. During one such U18s State Championship, I performed very well through the knockouts and won a prize as well. This led to my selections in the nationals. This paved the way to the Maharashtra team and then the Senior Nationals and eventually the Railways side, which was my eventual dream.”
Deepak took 4 attempts to make it to the Railways side as in the first three attempts, the more senior members got selected. It was a breakthrough moment for the young defender when he was first drafted to the Railways squad.
His hard work has paid off as he now regularly plays for the Indian Kho Kho team, and he is a Gold Medal winner at the 2018 South Asian Games. He even missed huge personal events for his dream. "I have sacrificed attending my sister's wedding in 2018, and my brother's wedding in 2019 for Kho Kho. In 2018, I was representing India at the South Asian Games in Nepal. We won the Gold for the country at the South Asian Games and this, I considered as one of my biggest achievements in the sport. The perfect return gift for my sister, and a very proud moment for my family," recalled Deepak.
Deepak had missed out on the Ultimate Kho Kho League trophy in the first season but he is all set to go the distance with us in the second season. "I missed out on the trophy last time by 5 seconds. This time, with the Gujarat Giants, I want to fulfill what I could not and secure the title for my team. We have received great support from the Adani Sportsline team, they’ve made us feel at home, kept us motivated to go for the win at all times," he noted.
Talking about Gujarat Giants, Deepak says “I have played in a few teams over my career so far, and not just me, everyone will agree that this is one of the best team managements we could have found. They back us to the hilt and the overall feeling in the camp is also very good, and you can see it when we are playing,” the defender signed off.