Meet Monu Goyat – India’s Most Valuable Non-Cricket Sportsperson
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
A massive Rs 1.51 crore bid made Monu Goyat from Kungar – a small village in Bhiwani district of Haryana – India’s most valuable non-cricketing sportsperson, after the Pro Kabaddi League 6 auction earlier this year.
He surpassed Sushil Kumar’s Pro Wrestling League bid of Rs 55 lakh and Sunil Chhetri’s Rs 1.50 crore salary in the Indian Super League to become the most expensive player in the history of the tournament.
PKL’s Haryana Steelers spent nearly 40 percent of their Rs 4 crore budget on just one player – Monu Goyat.
“I had a feeling my bid would be among the top two but I didn’t know I was going to be on top. According to the performance, the players and coaches used to talk about it. But I had thought it would be up to Rs 1 crore because the budget is less, and the entire team has to be bought within Rs 4 crore. So you can’t spend too much on one player,” said Monu.
All this, and before coming into the auction, Monu Goyat had never even played a game for India. So what made him the bidders’ favourite?
Monu, in fact, did not even play the first three seasons of the league due to restrictions of his job with the services.
“The ups and downs are part of the game. Sometimes you don’t get selected. A player might want to quit at that time. But there was never a stage when I thought I wanted to leave Kabaddi. I wanted to make my future in Kabaddi,” he said.
Early Making of a Star
Monu's first brush with kabaddi was like most other Indian kids. He was introduced to it while in school and encouraged by his uncle, who himself was a kabaddi player.
“My uncle, Vijender Singh, was a very good Kabaddi player. He taught me the sport in the village. Slowly over time, my interest in the game kept building. My family was very supportive, and told me to become as good as my uncle, build a name, and play for India,” he said.
But back then there was no league. Players would take up the sport to get a job, and the biggest aim was to represent India at the Asian Games.