Our heart was beating with India’s. To evolve a country of nearly 1.3 billion people into a sports superpower, we have to invest in a national culture where people are genuinely interested in various sports – not just cricket. Our efforts with hockey, football and badminton had been encouraging. But kabaddi was different. It was our very own. Our desi, homegrown, full contact sport with a history and legacy that seemed to have been forgotten. In small pockets where it was played, the talent was there. Players had a burning desire to excel and become heroes but they were hardly recognised, and the fans felt abandoned.