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The Remarkable Journey of Sonu Mahender Rathee from a small town to the Yuva Kabaddi arena

Dive into the incredible journey of Sonu Mahender Rathee, the standout defender of YKS Monsoon Edition 2023, as he rose to claim the coveted title of the season's leading defender.

The Remarkable Journey of Sonu Mahender Rathee from a small town to the Yuva Kabaddi arena

Sonu Rathee in action against Maratha Marvels at the Yuva Kabaddi Series Monsoon Edition 2023


Deepa Ramasubramanian

Published: 3 Nov 2023 1:47 PM GMT

In the region of Lakhan Majra from Haryana, where kabaddi isn't just a sport but a way of life, a young boy named Sonu Mahender Rathee embarked on a journey at the tender age of 12 that would take him from the village 'akhadas' to the grand stage of the Yuva Kabaddi Series (YKS). Sonu's story is one that epitomizes the essence of kabaddi, a tale of grit and the pursuit of dreams.

This Monsoon Edition 2023 saw Sonu Mahender Rathee standing tall as the leading defender with an astonishing tally of 97 tackle points. He held the coveted Left Corner position for Murthal Magnets, showcasing an exceptional Tackle Success Rate of almost 60%. Sonu created a sensation on the mat, registering 11 High 5s, including 4 Super Tackles, making him the backbone of the Magnets' defense.

Sonu's tryst with kabaddi began in the dusty 'akhadas' of his village. In a state where kabaddi is more than a sport, it's a tradition, young Sonu showed promise. He honed his skills, battling it out with seniors who guided him through the nuances of the game. Haryana, a kabaddi-centric region, witnessed a young talent in the making.

The turning point came when Sonu's performances for the junior state team caught everyone's attention. It was then that he realized his true potential, that kabaddi could be more than just a passion; it could be a profession. Fortunately, he had support from his parents, who encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

The Yuva Kabaddi Series brought a whirlwind of change to Sonu's life. The exposure and experience gained through the tournament marked a pivotal phase in his career. For the first time, he was playing in front of cameras, an opportunity he hadn't encountered in state-level competitions. The TV screens beamed his matches into the homes of his village, where his family, friends, and the entire community watched with pride.

Sonu is quick to acknowledge the unwavering support of his parents, who watched every game, cheered for him, and motivated him even during tough times. Their encouragement, he believes, was crucial in his journey from the village to the professional kabaddi arena.

During his debut in the Winter Edition 2022, Sonu represented Hampi Heroes, but the magnitude of the stage left him nervous. However, in his second season, playing for Murthal Magnets, experience taught him to keep an open mind. Both teams have been incredibly supportive, and the bonds he's formed with fellow players have been unbreakable. He also led the Murthal Magnets’ defense and the team ended up as the runner-up of this edition in the final encounter.

Haryana's love for kabaddi runs deep, and it’s players approach the sport with unparalleled zeal. In certain Haryana households, it's not a choice but a mandate to play kabaddi. This cultural affinity has created a pool of talented players who excel on the kabaddi mat.

As the lead defender this season, Sonu's training was distinct from that of the raiders. This edition also saw him tackling the raids with his favorite move, the double thigh hold. His journey through a raider-dominant world hasn't been easy. Nevertheless, he remains undaunted, striving to enhance his skills and maintain his excellent form.

Sonu's journey from the village backdrop to the professional kabaddi arena is a testament to his dedication and the incredible support of his parents. In Haryana, where kabaddi reigns supreme, Sonu is not just a kabaddi player; he's a source of inspiration for all the young athletes in the region to take up the sport and shine on. As he marches forward in his kabaddi journey, there's no doubt that Sonu is destined for greatness, and his impressive statistics this season only foreshadow the incredible heights he's yet to achieve.

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