Nitin Kureja’s professional association with kabaddi continues uninterruptedly. At the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League auction in Mumbai on Wednesday, former Star Sports head was on the other side of the court. Representing PKL franchisee Tamil Thalaivas.
Kukreja as head of Star India’s sports network has been instrumental in launch and development of Pro Kabaddi league. Even as Kukreja has moved on from Star Sports, his love and passion for sports continues in a new role as the Chief Executive of iQuest Enterprises, the company owned by the serial entrepreneur and PKL team Tamil Thalaivas co-promoter Nimmagadda Prasad.
Kukreja is representing Tamil Thalaivas at the two-day PKL auction in Mumbai. The emphasis over the next two days will be to build a formidable squad. The Tamil Thalaivas have also launched an initiative to promote the sport beyond their PKL commitment. Tamil Thalaivas have become the first PKL franchisee to launch a Strategic Grassroot Programme to promote kabaddi at grassroots level.
“Our (Tamil Thalaivas’) Strategic Grass Roots Programme will have the first ever residential academy for kabaddi players, where 70 selected kids will get training and education. We will fund the players’ education and training, but they will be free to play for Tamil Thalaivas or any other franchisees,” Kukreja revealed on the sidelines fo the PKL auction.
“We don’t just have a national level coach looking after our first (PKL) team, we also have a national level coach looking after our grassroots programme,” added Kukreja. Kasinatha Baskaran, who has coached the Thalaivas during their first PKL season last year, has been appointed the technical director for the Strategic Grassroots Programme. The franchisees has appointed Edachery Bhaskaran, who has coached U Mumba during their title triumph at the second season of PKL, as their new head coach for the league team.
The Thalaivas are owned along with Prasad by Sachin Tendulkar, actor Allu Arjan and Ram Charan. Actor Kamal Hasan is the brand ambassador of the team.