Volleyball officials talk about the future of the sport in the state and the country
Nanda Kumar has been guiding the fortunes of the Karnataka Volleyball association as its secretary. He is also a former International player and has represented India against Australia in an official Test series.
Balaji Prabhu is the only International volleyball referee from the State and has been sporting the International badge since 2007. The former junior India and Karnataka spiker took to officiating after a stint as State coach. The 47-year-old Balaji has cut a niche in the volleyball circles and has not missed any nationals.
D. Ramesha did pack a punch in his smashes as Karnataka player and was ‘hot’ to handle. The lanky AGORC employee doubles up as Technical committee chairman and selection committee member. The trio shared their views and opinions on the various aspects related to the game in the State and the Indian Volleyball League.
Excerpts from the interview:
On the standard of the game in the State
Nanda Kumar: We did slip into a rot of sorts, going into the second rung in the National championship. This year we played well and have a number of talented players. We need to give them a year or two to mature at the senior grade.
Balaji Prabhu: The overall standards are dipping. Karnataka did play well in patches and did redeem themselves at the nationals at Moradabad.
Ramesha: We have a good team and our youth teams are good. If they are not performing to expectations there must be other aspects that must be taken care of. It is a young team and needs experience.
On junior programmes
Nanda Kumar: I have been scouting for talent. Getting tall players from the districts and getting them into mainstream programmes are on. I have been stressing on tournaments conducted by schools and PU colleges to get young talent.
Balaji Prabhu: There is a need for more junior programmes. The juniors have only the inter-district and ‘B’ division league to perform. There are talented players and need more exposure.
Ramesha: There is a system in place. There is regular scouting and trials. We conduct selection trials and then with about 25-odd players conduct a month-long camp ahead of all national level championships. Our college teams play a lot of open invitation tournaments in the South and get good exposure. At the school level there are about seven to eight tournaments.
On Karnataka Volleyball League (KVL)
Nanda Kumar: It has become a part of the State’s calendar. Last year, the event was conducted in four centres and was forced to host back-to-back matches. We are planning on five centres with a couple of breaks between centres.
This will give the players some breathing time between travelling and playing matches.
Balaji Prabhu: KVL will happen sometime soon but is that enough? Hopefully, things will happen and Karnataka will regain its glory days once again soon.
Ramesha: It has been happening annually.
There have been some discrepancies and crowded schedules which is being corrected.
On recruitments and job opportunities for players
Nanda Kumar: That is one aspect we are unable to address. Government agencies and public sector undertakings should provide the answers.
Balaji Prabhu: There are no opportunities for the players to cement their future and parents do not send their children to these disciplines nowadays. There is little encouragement in schools.
Ramesha: This has been the bane of sports in the state. Our players get employment in other states with Income Tax and even Railways and we lose their services.
Nanda Kumar: We are going about the task in right earnest. With Jaidas Menon of Motor Sports showing interest, KVA has sent proposals to the VFI and are awaiting an answer.
We have even identified the centres.
Balaji Prabhu: Without a good sponsor the revival of the IVL looks uncertain. The Federation is in talks and something will materialise.
Ramesha: It is for the Federation to take up and promote IVL well. They should be more professional and market it.
It could be a little premature to assess the way things will go for the game both in the State and in the country.
B.S. Adithyan’s untimely death last year was a body blow for the sport but all things move on and so will this sport, which has the reputation of being well administered.