The first obvious detail you notice about Sonu Jaglan is his towering frame. He stands well over the six-foot mark, but is not a broad-shouldered beast that has become a norm for kabaddi raiders.

His skillset lies elsewhere. He has the fast reflexes required to dodge defenders and the speed in his feet to charge at his opponents and get back to the half-line at the end of a successful foray across the mat.

It is what has made the 23-year-old Gujarat Giants raider a vital cog for his team, as the Ahmedabad-based side made it to the playoffs of Season 10 of the Pro Kabaddi League.

“He is a game-changer, an all-rounder,” explained the Giants coach Ram Mehar Singh to Scroll. “When the team needs something to change, he provides that turning point.”

Singh, who has been a part of the Indian Air Force for 28 years, was one of the first coaches to recognise Jaglan’s talent when they met at a Haryana-state tournament a few years ago. Singh encouraged Jaglan to join him in the Air Force team.

And under Singh’s tutelage at the Giants, Jaglan, in his third season at the PKL, has made his mark.

He started this season with four consecutive Super 10 (when a raider scores a minimum of 10 points in a match) performances to light up the start of the Giants’ campaign.


Jaglan, a native of Panipat in Haryana, comes from a farming background. Kabaddi was a popular sport in his village and he was inspired to get into the sport by watching his seniors compete.

When he was a teenager, he ended up passing a trial for the village team ahead of a local tournament and began playing several local and state tournaments, along with university-level competitions.

During this time, he also joined the Indian Air Force and began to ply his trade in inter-services kabaddi tournaments. Under Singh’s guidance, the Gujarat raider began to discover his penchant for running hand-touch attacks and used his height and reach to his advantage.

His performances in domestic circles earned him a first call-up to the PKL by former India captain Manpreet Singh, who was coach of the Giants at the time in 2019.

“I got a chance as a substitute and my performance was good,” Jaglan recalled to this publication. “For the next year, coach saab then gave me the right to return.”

Manpreet Singh, now the Haryana Steelers coach, was proved right to give Jaglan a shot when the raider ended his debut season with 72 points from 17 matches.

But Jaglan was unable to continue to build the momentum. The Covid-19 pandemic halted all activity. When he got a chance to resume, he suffered an ankle fracture during a training camp in 2021, that took him a year to recover.

Both the Services and the Giants provided assistance in the recovery process.

By the time he was declared fit to resume playing, the Giants had a new coach at the helm – Ram Mehar Singh had taken up the reigns. The familiarity between the two came to the fore as they started to work together for the Giants’ cause.

“I tell him to not take the pressure on [when he has a bad game], but he has that calibre to perform,” Singh added, about the raider.

Jaglan’s has steadily started to develop and hone his skills, but he explained that his parents used to be worried about his health and safety because of the rough nature of the sport.

But since he started to shine in the the sport’s most glamourous tournament, the reservations back home have eased up.

“They are very happy now,” Jaglan said. “In fact, now my father goes around the village and people keep calling him as ‘Sonu’s father.’”

In a sport that has become much more speed-oriented, the lanky and quick Jaglan has found a footing. Now with that same surety, he will feature for the Giants in the playoffs.