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Updated: December 26, 2010 16:25 IST

Playing his best

K. KEERTHIVASAN
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John Christopher of Tamil Nadu Volleyball team Photo: S. S. Kumar
THE HINDU John Christopher of Tamil Nadu Volleyball team Photo: S. S. Kumar

John Christopher's commitment and consistency are sure to take him places.

To watch a spiker in full bloom in volleyball is as satisfying as admiring a rhythmic gymnast in action— graceful and endearing. The take off and the jump to make contact with the ball in mid-air is a stunning piece of aerobic activity.

Many wins

There are only a handful of talented young players in India, who make the art of attacking look both attractive and effective. Twenty-three-year-old John Christopher is one such player with remarkable talent and attitude. For Christopher it's been fruitful outings in recent times. He was part of the Indian team which won the bronze in the Asian junior championship in Thailand in October this year. And last week, he played a crucial role in Tamil Nadu winning the Senior National championship in Chennai. Christopher impressed in every match. Though his service was a cause for concern, there was no question mark on his basic role, attack. In the final against Kerala, Christopher's timely jump smashes turned out to be the key in the host's success. “This is my second Nationals. In the first one at Visakhapatnam in 2008, I was used sparingly for service. In the Chennai Nationals, I played my best. I was happy that I played an important part in TN's victory,” he said.

Promising player

The Tamil Nadu team's trainer P. Sundaram said Christopher played a big part in the side's triumph. “We were looking for a right person to replace P.S. Srikanth. We are happy that Christopher was able to fulfil that role. He was consistent throughout the tournament with his explosive power,” he said. Sundaram said when it's usual for an attacker to be above six feet in height, Christopher at around six feet, performed an outstanding feat. Christopher cherishes the National championship victory as much as the triumph in Thailand. “All the senior players supported me. They gave me a lot of confidence to play my natural game,” he said.

He took to the sport at an early age thanks to his father Victor Vijaykumar, who played the sport at the district level, in the 1980s. Christopher represented the State in all categories from the sub-junior category. The call-up to play his first International tournament—the World youth championship in 2008—was indeed special. Christopher has improved manifold since then. In fact in the Asian junior championship, he was the top-scorer for India. Christopher aims to perform well in the World junior championship in Brazil in August next year. “My goal is to represent India in the senior section,” he said. The soft-spoken guy hailing from Krishnagiri would be the main attacker for India in the years to come, provided he remains grounded and committed.

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