A professional approach has helped state players shine in international arena
India's volleyball team clinched the Nursultan Nazarbayev President's Cup last week at Almaty, Kazakhstan, subduing Tunisia in straight sets, 25-18, 25-22, 25-20.
With that triumph, the National squad was richer by US $ 30,000.
In the thick of the action was Gutikonda Pradeep of Andhra Pradesh, who as centre blocker, played a pivotal role.
The International Volleyball Federation website described the winning show thus:
“The side (India) was in destructive form as a large crowd watched the thrilling finale. Tunisia, favoured to win the showdown, could not utilise its power as India strangled it out of the game.”
“Thanks to the reforms made by the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI), our approach was very professional,” said former Indian captain V. Ravikanth Reddy. As Chairman of the Indian Volley League (IVL), he took immense pride in the fact that each member of the victorious Indian squad belonged to some IVL side or the other.
“There are enough opportunities now for players to make their fame and fortune and I hope they exploit it,” Ravikanth said. “Pradeep, who's being considered for the Arjuna Award, richly deserves it and I hope he is decorated with the citation next year at least,” he said. For all the professionalism shown by the senior squad in Kazhakhstan, that trait was lacking in the national junior squad that took part in the world junior championships at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earlier. “The Indian team lacked motivation. Professionalism separated us from the foreign squads,” said Ravikanth, who was manager of the team. Ever the optimist, he however hopes that the changes brought about by the VFI would benefit the junior squad as well. “India finished eighth but should have won a medal,” he added.
Former junior international G. Venu Madhav however felt the Rio event showcased the talents of players such as Kanagaraj, who was adjudged the best libero. “Middle blocker Lavmeet Katariya and Dilip Koilwal, also products of the IVL, stood out with their splendid performances,” he concluded.