MUMBAI: "Be patient. The best things happen unexpectedly." Thus reads the Twitter bio of Deepak Niwas Hooda.
While Fazel Atrachali stole the first half of the auction for Pro Kabaddi League's (PKL) sixth season after being bought for `1 crore — the costliest international in the event's history — it was Deepak Niwas Hooda who hit a greater jackpot than the Iranian.
Hooda was sold for Rs 1.15 crore to Jaipur Pink Panthers, the same amount as Nitin Tomar was bought for by Puneri Paltans.
Though he may not be the costliest player this season -- Monu Goyat was the highest with Haryana Steelers shelling out Rs 1.51 crore for him, and Rahul Chaudhari went to Telugu Titans for `1.29 crore — this is still life-changing sum for Hooda.
Hailing from Chamaria village of Haryana's Rohtak district, Hooda's journey in this sport was far from a cakewalk.
The 23-year-old lost his mother when he was four. He also lost his father in 2013, when he was in Class 12. Due to financial difficulties, Hooda had to stop his studies and work as a part-time teacher at a private school for making a living. And that's when kabaddi found him, as he realised his passion for the sport and started working towards it.
With very few people in his village playing kabbadi at that time, Hooda decided to go out for honing his skills.
Hooda then went on to represent Haryana at the national seniors in Patna, hogging the limelight as his team won gold. That's where his talent was spotted, with the door opening for him to turn out in the inaugural edition of PKL in 2014.
Hooda was also the second costliest player that season, with Telugu Titans buying him for `12.6 lakh. For someone who has struggled to attain the heights he has without parental support, his elder sister was his guide since childhood.
"I am going to go home as fast as possible to celebrate this incredible day with my sister and her children. I do take care of them, so I will be spending some amount for their education and welfare," said an overjoyed Hooda on Wednesday.
With teams showing an inclination for going after all-rounders, Hooda said that he had expected his bid to come close to `1 crore, but not cross it.
His 2014 PKL exploits earned Hooda an India call-up two years later. He then rose to fame in the same year, being a part of the team that won gold at South Asian Games.
Hooda also went on in the same year to represent India at Kabbadi World Cup and Asian Kabbadi Championship, with the nation clinching gold in both events.
Currently a part of a national camp ahead for Asian Games (in Jakarta in August), Hooda revealed that his prime focus will be on improving his game and maintaining his consistency. Since 1990, India have emerged as champions in every edition of Asian Games, and Hooda stated that he aspired to help his nation continue that trend come August.