Going places

On top Kamala Kumari

On top Kamala Kumari   | Photo Credit: Photo: M. Murali

Kamala Kumari joins West Bengal’s Shakthi Dhara to achieve the distinction

Last month, an old student of the Government College of Physical Education (GCPE) in Domalguda became an international volleyball referee, the first woman from Andhra Pradesh and only the second in the country after West Bengal’s Shakthi Dhara to achieve the distinction. A national referee until then, Kamala Kumari had attended the international volleyball referees examination at Bangkok, Thailand in May.

Her evolution to this achievement began in the Sirpur Paper Mills colony in Kaghaznagar, where she took up volleyball. Besides leading Khammam in the senior inter district championship at Nalgonda in December 2000, she represented the state in the Rural Nationals at Agartala, where Andhra Pradesh was runner-up.

In the run-up to the Agartala Nationals, she attended a coaching camp at the Lal Bahadur Stadium, Hyderabad, conducted by Mohan Rao. She then came under the influence of Akthar Raza, upcoming international referee Shamim, Swamy and Ashok Kumar, all closely connected with volleyball. With their guidance and encouragement, she contemplated becoming a referee. To spur her on, the trio would say they wanted to see her in an international referee’s uniform!

In January 2001, she took the national referees exam at Calicut, which she cleared. A string of important assignments followed viz, the sub junior Nationals at Burdwan and Tandur, the junior Nationals at Coimbatore and Kadapa, the mini Nationals at Huvina Hadagali, Karnataka, the senior Nationals at Pune, the National Games at Hyderabad and Guwahati. She was also a scorer in the world under 21 men’s championships at Visakhapatnam in 2005.

A diploma holder in Civil Engineering from the Kamala Nehru Polytechnic, Exhibition Grounds, Hyderabad, she also obtained a diploma in physical education from the GCPE. A qualified coach in volleyball from the National Institute of Sports, she’s indebted to Harinath Reddy, L. Venkat Ram Reddy and K. Murugan, who have given her major events to officiate in, besides mentoring her to the top. She has also received much encouragement from her husband, parents and children.

A Physical Education Teacher in the A.P. Residential School for Girls in Nekkonda, Warangal district, she aims to take the FIVB Referee exam in two years time. It is mandatory that she needs to score, officiate as first and second referee in five, five and four international events respectively.

The catch is that she will have to attend all these events at her own expense, the prospects of which make her shudder, as she hails from a very poor family, unless some generous sponsor comes forward to back her cause financially.

She has petitioned the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) for financial support in the hope of attaining her ambition of becoming a FIVB referee.

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