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PKL 2021: Dabang Delhi's Naveen Goyat determined to scrape off 'runners-up' curse

Dabang Delhi's 'Naveen Express' talks about PKL 2021 and his aim to lift the title after finishing second-best in his previous three tournaments.

Naveen Goyat Dabang Delhi

Naveen Goyat (PKL)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 23 Dec 2021 10:50 AM GMT

The Dabang Delhi has seen a massive resurgence in their past two campaigns at the Pro Kabaddi League. Having finished with the wooden spoon in Zone A in 2017, the Dabangs managed to qualify for the playoffs in 2018 before going one step further to finish as the runners up in 2019.

A major credit for the Dabang Delhi's rise as a force to reckon with goes to the young 21-year-old Naveen Goyat. Having made his PKL debut in 2017, Naveen has pocketed a total of 480 raid points in just 45 matches.

"I have done very well for the team since I made my debut in PKL. I do not think about it a lot and just want to continue doing what I did previously in this season as well," says Naveen in an exclusive interaction with The Bridge.

Naveen knows up until now he was a rookie – an unknown quantity, something which has definitely changed now. He knows he is now seen as one of the bigger threats by the opponents while playing Dabang Delhi and that he has to keep on improving his game.

"The opponents can make all the strategies they want, but I am also sweating it out in the practice sessions. I do not think much about all of these. I believe if I put in the efforts during practice sessions, I would be able to play at my best during any given point in a match," he states.

In the previous two editions, Naveen was almost a one-man army in the raiding department for Dabang Delhi – something which will change with the presence of the legendary Ajay Thakur in the lineup.

"It is a dream come true for me to play with Ajay Thakur. I have grown up idolising him and tried to copy his style and skills growing up. To have him at the practice session and him suggesting different ways in which I can take my game to the next level was just surreal," Naveen explains with child-like enthusiasm.

The 'Naveen Express' exudes confidence like no other when he goes on to state that he has a few new tricks in the bag, thanks to Thakur.

"I have learnt a lot from Ajay Thakur and have also managed to add a few more skills under my bag under his guidance. I have also worked on my strength and, hopefully, I will be able to showcase to the fans and viewers whatever I have learnt on the mat."

Though his performances have been top-notch in the past three tournaments – PKL 2019, Senior Nationals and All India Kabaddi Championships, he has played, Naveen's teams have always stumbled in the final and finished as runners up.

"Winning and losing is a part and parcel of the game. I will keep fighting till I am fit enough to play and will walk away with the title once. Also, I feel it is a different feeling when you win something after losing for so long. I am hungry to clinch the PKL title this time and I believe we have a perfect combination to that," Naveen signs off as if issuing a warning to his rivals.

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