CHENNAI: Twenty seventeen was a disturbing year for Indian volleyball, when headlines were dominated by factional fights and court verdicts rather than on-field performances. The dispute between the then Volleyball Federation of India president Chaudhary Avadhesh Kumar and the secretary Ramavtar Singh Jakhar brought Indian volley to a standstill. The VFI was suspended and the team were unable to even enter the Asian Cup held in Thailand, an event where India were runners-up in the previous edition.
But all that appears to be water under the bridge. Fresh elections have since been held, with the Jakhar faction claiming control over the body. The only question mark now is over the post of the president, with the Supreme Court set to announce a final verdict on March 21.
Overseeing proceedings at the 18th National Beach Volleyball Championships which concluded at the Besant Nagar beach on Sunday, Jakhar seemed confident. He is certain that the Supreme Court will uphold the election of S Vasudevan as the new president of the body. The VFI is so confident that they have not handed over certificates to the winners of the Beach Nationals as well as the Indoor Nationals that were held in Kozhikode recently. They are waiting till February so that they can issue certificates with both the new president’s and the secretary’s signature on it.
“That period is gone,” Jakhar proclaims. “This is a new start for Indian volley. Our players have lost both opportunities and money because of this case.”After spending the last year in the courts, the VFI has finally regained their focus — their immediate priority is to prepare the men’s and women’s team for the upcoming Asian Games. The teams are already in a preparatory camp with the men’s team setting up base in Aurangabad. But it’s the women’s team that Jakhar has high hopes for.
“This year, we’re giving the women’s team a lot of attention,” he says. “We have tasked GE Sreedharan who has been the men’s coach for a while with preparing the women’s team for the games. Vir Das will take care of the men’s team. Our hope is that the women’s team can finish in the top four in Jakarta.
“Both teams will also go abroad to prepare for the Games. The men’s team will tour Doha and we are in talks with China and Kazhakstan as well, to play prepartory games. The women’s team will go to Thailand,” Jakhar says.
After the Games, the focus will shift to the newly-launched Indian Volley League, an initiative that Jakhar believes will transform Indian volley. “Volleyball is a very televisable game, fast and exciting. The Indian Volley League will bring that coverage to the sport. We plan on bringing top international players here and the Indian players too will have an excellent chance to make money and improve their game. The league will be held in late-September/early October and the technical details will be announced soon.”
Railways, tn win
The Railways duo of Chaitanya and Rajesh emerged champions in the 18th National Beach Volleyball Championships at the Besant Nagar beach, besting Goa’s Aaron Pereira and Rama Dhaswakar 21-18, 21-11. The women’s final was an all Tamil Nadu affair with Shalini and Supraja beating state-mates Jenifer and Yogeswari 21-14, 21-15.Final results: Men: Railways (Rajesh & Chaitanya) beat Goa-1 (Rama & Aaron) 21-18, 21-11); Women: TN-1 (Shalini & Supraja) beat TN-2 (Jenifer & Yogeswari) 21-14, 21-15.