Former Indian kabaddi team captain Anup Kumar announced his retirement with immediate effect from the sport after the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) match between Jaipur Pink Panthers and Gujarat Fortunegiants on Wednesday.
"When I started playing kabaddi, I was invested in the sport because I liked it and it was a great hobby, which over the years became the most important part of my life," he said. "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 lucky few who had the opportunity to accomplish the most important dream of my life. Today, with the Pro Kabaddi League, the magnitude of the sport has grown (by) leaps and bounds and I could not be happier to 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."
Anup's team, Jaipur, lost 33-31 on Wednesday.
Arjuna Award winner 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 at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games, captaining the team in 2014. Earning the nickname of Captain Cool for his calm demeanour on the mat, he also led India to World Cup victory at home in 2016.
Having played for U Mumba in five previous editions of PKL, Anup led the team to three consecutive PKL finals, winning the title in Season 2.
Ronnie Screwvala, team owner of U Mumba, said, "When I heard of Anup Kumar's retirement, I have to say it didn't surprise me because he is one of the smartest and most intelligent players in kabaddi. He gets his sense of timing on the field and I think he gets his timing when he is looking at his own career off the field as well."
Jaipur team owner Abhishek Bachchan said, "Today I am sad because we won't see him on the mat after this, but I really hope he will always be connected to the sport because everything that he has done for the sport in the past is something that no one can replicate."