Ajay Thakur is an Indian professional Kabaddi player. He has gained recognition as a prominent player, leading and contributing to the success of the Indian national Kabaddi Team. He won gold medals for India at the 2014 Asian Games and the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
Ajay Thakur, whose nickname is Sonu 1, was born on Friday, May 1, 1987 (age 36 years; as of 2023) in Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Taurus. Ajay Thakur received his formal education from the Government Senior Secondary School, Dabhota, and Government Post Graduation College in Nalagarh. 2 He is also a graduate of the Himachal Pradesh Police Academy.
Height (approx.): 6’ 1″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Body Measurements (approx.): Chest: 42”; Waist: 34”; Biceps: 15”
Parents & Siblings
Ajay Thakur’s father’s name is Chotu Ram, who is a former Kabaddi player and represented India.
The name of his mother is Rajinder Kaur.
Ajay Thakur has a younger brother named Abhinandan Chandel and a sister named Disha Thakur.
Wife and Children
On April 10, 2019, Ajay Thakur got married to Sandeep Rana in Jogo village, Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh.
The couple has a daughter named Anaya Thakur (b. April 27, 2021).
Ajay Thakur follows Hinduism. 3
Ajay Thakur started playing Pro Kabaddi in 2014 during its inaugural season. As a member of Air India, he represented Air India at the Industrial National Championships. He led the Indian team to a gold medal in 2017 and also captained the Himachal men’s team in the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championship in 2020. Besides his sporting accomplishments, Ajay Thakur is a member of the Himachal Pradesh Police Service and currently serving as a Deputy Superintendent of Police in Una, Himachal Pradesh.
During the inaugural season of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014, Ajay Thakur played 15 matches and scored 122 raid points as well as 5 tackle points while playing for the Bengaluru Bulls team. In subsequent seasons, he played for Puneri Paltan and Tamil Thalaivas, accumulating notable raid and tackle points.
Kabaddi World Cup 2016
During the Kabaddi World Cup 2016, Ajay Thakur shone with his skills as a raider, amassing the most raid points and the highest overall points scorer with 68 points. Thakur’s contribution was pivotal in the final game against Iran, where he executed a 4-point raid that helped India take the lead. Due to his performance, Thakur was named the Man of the Tournament in the Kabaddi World Cup 2016.
Excused Kabaddi season over issues with state association
On 17 July 2022, Thakur wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the Pro-Kabaddi League, asking to be excused from the season without any explanation. Sources claimed that Thakur had issues with the state Kabaddi association and as a result, he left his position as captain of the state Kabaddi team on 17 July 2022. He also asked the senior national team not to include his name in their roster. 4
Suspended for Whereabouts Violation
Ajay Thakur was issued a provisional suspension notice on March 19, 2021, under Article 2.4 of the anti-doping rules. The reason for the suspension was Thakur’s failure to submit his whereabouts information in a given time. Thakur led the Indian team during the 2018 Asian Games and helped them in retaining their title while securing a bronze medal as well. 5
Disappointed with a cash prize for players
Ajay Thakur expressed his disappointment with the cash prize provided by the government to players. He stated that the entire team was given only Rs. 10 lakh, which is a nominal amount when divided amongst the players. He clarified that he was not expecting to be showered with gifts, but rather should be celebrated and recognized for their achievements. 6
Indian Kabaddi Team’s selection controversy
Ajay Thakur, the Indian team captain, blamed the selection committee for the team’s decline at the Asian Games. He expressed frustration with the selection process, which led to mounting pressure on the team even before the competition began. This controversy led to a petition filed by Honappa Gowda, a former Kabaddi player and recipient of the Arjuna Award, two weeks before the Asian Games. Gowda raised concerns about the unjust selection process. Unfortunately, the Indian team lost to Iran in the semifinals, resulting in them being eliminated from the competition. This marked the first time in 28 years that the Indian team had to settle for a bronze medal at an important event. 7
Himachal Pradesh Kabaddi Assoc. Demands Apology from Ajay Thakur
The Himachal Pradesh Kabaddi Association demanded an apology from former national kabaddi team captain, Ajay Thakur, for accusing the association of corruption in the selection process for the state team. Rajkumar Branta, the association’s president, has also threatened legal action if Ajay fails to apologize within a week. Branta accused Ajay of using inappropriate language on social media and said the matter would be brought to the attention of the Director General of Police (DGP). Branta said that a three-member committee was formed on July 14 to investigate the corruption allegations raised by Ajay and found them to be false. Ajay has refused to apologize and has questioned the association’s members, stating that they should resign. Ajay said that his statements were in support of talented athletes who were not selected for the senior national team. 8
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Arjuna Award (2019)
- Padma Shri (2019)
- Man of the Tournament in Kabaddi World Cup 2016
- Parshuram Gaurav Award by Himachal Government
- Brand Ambassador of SOTO (State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation)
- Ajay Thakur has been honored by the World Book of Record UK London.
- Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Kabaddi – Gold Medal (2013)
- Gold Medal at Kabaddi at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games
- 2014 Asian Games – Gold Medal
- Asian Kabaddi Championship 2017 (Gorgan, Iran) – Gold Medal
- World Cup 2016 (Ahmedabad, India) – Gold medal
- Asian Games 2018 (Jakarta, Indonesia)- Bronze Medal
- Kabaddi Master Dubai 2018- Gold Medal
Ajay owns a Royal Enfield.
He owns a Toyota Fortuner.
He earned a salary of Rs. 69 Lakhs per season in Pro Kabaddi League as of 2017. 9
Singer: Sidhu Moose Wala
- Ajay Thakur’s father, Chottu Ram, was a professional Kabaddi player and his cousin, Rakesh Kumar, is also a well-known Kabaddi player. The influence of these family members got Ajay interested in the sport at an early age.
- Ajay started playing Kabaddi when he was a child and played his first match at the age of ten. It was a 32 kg Kabaddi event that took place in his village.
- Due to his impressive skills and popularity, Ajay has a large fanbase. He has earned numerous nicknames such as Ice Man, Flying Thakur, and King of Kabaddi.
- The frog jump is one of the difficult moves in Kabaddi. It is Ajay Thakur’s signature move; it requires a lot of physical effort. The move is impressive to watch because the raider leaps high into the air over a defender and tries to touch the ground to score points.
- Ajay suffered a spine injury during one of the tournaments in 2021 and had to undergo surgery in 2022.
- Thakur has played for Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltan in the Pro Kabaddi League but is best known for his time as captain of Tamil Thalaivas.
- His jersey number for Tamil Thalivas was 7.
- He serves as a brand ambassador for PNB Metlife, Amway, and Gatorade, and is involved in charitable initiatives.
- Thakur is an active user of social media, with a YouTube channel of over 62K subscribers.
- He likes hitting the gym with teammates and enjoying swimming in his spare time.
- Horse riding is his favorite activity outside of kabaddi.
- Ajay loves animals and enjoys helping stray animals. He uses social media to inspire his fans to do the same. He also had a pet pitbull dog that passed away in 2021. In his hometown, Ajay has birds and rabbits as pets.