Photos: Slick tricks with freestyle footballer Akshay Yadav in Mumbai

Updated: Aug 24, 2018 10:12 IST

Football freestyler Akshay Yadav shows off his skills at Bandra Reclamation. The 23-­year-old picked up the sport when he was in school, and became a national champion six years ago. He is representing India at the World Football Freestyle Championships in Prague, which runs from August 21 to August 25. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

With a world governing body already in place, the fledgling sport is slowly mushrooming into the mainstream. There are quite a few freestylers in India as well and are growing in numbers. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Yadav was first introduced to the discipline while playing football in school. While his aspirations of becoming a footballer didn’t pan out, in the bargain he discovered a unique talent for freestyling and hasn’t put the ball down since. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

Yadav calls himself an artistic athlete rather than an athlete or an artist. His training began as a school kid, and from then built up a repertoire of skills and tricks, which gave him the confidence to participate in various freestyle tournaments. “I always wanted to do something out of the box,” says Yadav. “I always wanted to be on stage than the field as I always thought there was a bit of an artist in me.” (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

Yadav was crowned national champion at the age of seventeen. This achievement gave him the boost to pursue the sport seriously and since then he has worked his way up into being counted among the top freestyle footballers in the country. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

Initially, his parents told him to opt for a more mainstream career but a bit of convincing later their support has only grown for his choice. Today, they take pride in showing videos of their son lining up tricks. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

As a sport, freestyle football is still not widely known in this cricket loving country. And Yadav, wishes to use his skills and representation to make it popular and increase awareness about it. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

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