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Palani Tuskers: Meet the Yuva Kabaddi Series Summer Edition CHAMPIONS!

After weeks of exhilarating action at the Yuva Kabaddi Series Summer Edition in Mysore, Palani Tuskers emerged as the top dogs. Here's a detailed look at the team's journey.

Palani Tuskers: Meet the Yuva Kabaddi Series Summer Edition CHAMPIONS!

Pritish Raj

Updated: 25 July 2023 2:36 PM GMT

Palani Tuskers triumphed over Periyar Panthers to win their maiden title in the first-ever extra-time in a final of the Yuva Kabaddi Series Summer Edition at the Chamundi Vihar Indoor Stadium, Mysore, Karnataka.

Helmed by coaches Thivakaran and Elavarasan, Palani Tuskers won the title after an exciting final, where they came from behind to defeat the Periyar Panthers, their 22nd victory of the campaign.

One look at how the Tuskers built a squad that went on to clinch the title, it is clear the role that the two coaches played in keeping the players motivated even after a few bad results.

Like a true captain of the ship, coach Elavarasan has been an example as to how to maintain one's bearings in tense situations. Even when players had false tackles or someone got ousted and went on the bench, never once did he shout at them or demotivate them. In his own words, "It's okay, getting one or four points also is okay. You will be getting more points so you have to maintain focus and keep doing well."

On the other hand, coach Thivakaran kept the players on their toes when it came to their fitness and was a constant motivator during the initial stages of the campaign. "You can't coach people unless you love them", is how he summarised his role within the team.

Embodying the never-say-die attitude of the coaches was one of the most versatile defenders, Ajay Muthaiya, who battled the personal tragedy of losing his father to become champion this year. Ajay, who can play both left cover and corner, is happy with the chance to be with the team and contribute to its success having registered an impressive 90 tackles.

Another player, S. Mukeshkannan battled a persistent leg injury and despite that, was one of the team's most consistent performers. Coming from a humble background, Mukesh is just happy with the opportunity that the Yuva Kabaddi Series has provided to youngsters like him who just needed a platform to showcase their talent.One of the most experienced players on the team's roster, M. Ramkumar is an employee of the Customs Department. The raider stepped up well in the absence of injured team captain Sanjeevi, notching up 131 points over the course of the summer edition, including an impressive cameo from the bench in the final that saw him register five important points.

Known back in Tamil Nadu as 'Jet Pasupathi', Pasupathi SP was another vital cog in the wheel for the Tuskers. His intelligent offence play and ability to analyse what his weaknesses are and work them out in match situations also played a key role in the team's success.

Playing in the tournament for the first time, Arul Nandha Babu, who plays right cover, is a rare player to find. Despite this being his first outing, Arul was very confident throughout, something that is visible when he said, "I've played so many matches. Lights, camera whether it is there or not it doesn't matter to me anymore. I will play my original game."

His efficient dove-tailing with the other left corner defender, Vishvanath Vijaykumar, who had joined the team late but took no time to develop an understanding with the others, was one of the most important aspects of the team's gameplay. The trio of Ajay, Arul and Vijaykumar had three successful tackles each in the final, underlining their big-game credentials.

It was the same for S. Manikandan Subramani, who was brought in when Ajay Muthaiya was injured for a few matches and grabbed the opportunity with both hands to perform well.

Last but not the least, Jayasoorya Nagarajan turned out to be the leading raider for Palani Tuskers, registering a massive 194 points with his speedy raids, 12 of them in the final. The explosive 20-year-old raider was the point of difference in multiple closely-contested affairs in the team's campaign, finishing with 236 raids across the 21 matches that he featured in.

With such a formidable and talented unit, Palani Tuskers proved to be the best team in the tournament by far and they will look to build on this achievement in the upcoming editions of the Yuva Kabaddi Series.

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