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Kerala man funds Volley Friends Sports Centre to keep youth away from alcohol addiction

A sleepy village until Dinesh’s volley academy took root, Payambra has catapulted around 30 players into jobs with the Railways, Army, Air Force and KSEB.

Published: 31st October 2021 02:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st October 2021 02:02 AM   |  A+A-

A training session in progress at the Volley Friends Sports Centre at Payambra in Kozhikode.

A training session in progress at the Volley Friends Sports Centre at Payambra in Kozhikode. (Photo | T P Sooraj, EPS)

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: Two decades ago, Dinesh Kumar T — a pickup autorickshaw driver — was a worried man. For he saw that the youth in his village of Payambra were losing their way after getting addicted to liquor. That set him thinking on the ways to wean youngsters away from the clutches of alcohol abuse. He believed the magic of volleyball can attract youth and help save them from falling into the darker side of life, and also stay fit. 

In 2001, a determined Dinesh filled his 26 cents of land with 200 truckloads of soil to convert it into a volleyball training centre. Thus began the journey of the Volley Friends Sports Centre (VFSC) of Payambra in Kuruvattur panchayat. Twenty years on, the centre has helped unearth four national team players, six state team players and many others at the district level. The academy’s girls team emerged champions in the state inter-school volleyball championship and in Keralolsavam, both in 2019.

A sleepy village until Dinesh’s volley academy took root, Payambra has catapulted around 30 players into jobs with the Railways, Army, Air Force and KSEB. “The change volleyball has brought to our village is beyond my expectations. Now we have three volleyball courts, including an indoor one, besides a gym and an office,” says the 49-year-old, whose big worry now is finding the resources to keep the academy going.

Remya K, a Payambra native and an assistant professor at the  Government Arts & Science College, Nadapuram, says Dinesh has channeled sports as an effective tool to better the lives of the youth. “The spirit with which adolescent girls in a village play volleyball amid a huge crowd without any inhibition is a delight to watch,” she says.

In his youth, Dinesh used to play sevens football tournaments in far off Malappuram and Kondotty. “Those days there was none to guide us in sport. I don’t want that to happen to the new generation,” he says. Despite being aware that he has lost lakhs in revenue by carrying on thus, he is not ready to quit on his  passion. Though without any formal training, he assisted coaches like Vineesh Kumar, Sreedharan Thikkodi and T K Raghavan Nair for years, and picked up the nuances.

The academy now trains 130 youngsters, aged 10 and above, of which around half are girls. Besides Dinesh, two other trainers manage the sessions in three batches – morning, evening and late evening. Vinya N M, Reshma T, Anushree K P and Nandana V have gone on to represent India after starting out at the Payambra academy. Dinesh’s two children — Parthiv and Devananda — too train at Volley Friends. 



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