Chennai lad wins laurels in volleyball

By G Srinivasan Published on Oct 11, 2017 12:29 PM IST

Chennai: Here is a success story of a youngster, K Balaji of Jubilee Road, at Mambalam in the city who assiduously worked his way into the volleyball national team  selected recently by School Games Federation of India.

A class ten student of Anjuham Higher Secondary School, West Mambalam, Balaji took to the game when he was at class nine only, but within a short time he has gone to the national level, 'thanks to vigorous and dedicated coaching given by the team of physical education teachers of the school'.

Balaji is thrilled, of course. "‘I am excited to be in the National side and aim to play international matches,"’ says Balaji who was originally a sprinter (athlete) before joining the school.

"When I came for selection for the volleyball team of the school, PT teachers here identified my height (6.2 feet) and chose me as a blocker in the game. After a while, I too realized my capacity as a blocker (the player needs to defend the ball near the net) and thereafter I have been successful at district, State and national levels," adds Balaji.

The three PT teachers behind his success are A Marikannan, M Kamal and G Sivagamasundari who themselves played at senior levels in games like cricket, badminton and volleyball.

One of the teachers says,"‘Playing as blocker is a tough role in the game as the player needs to be alert to face the ball which will forcefully land in front and need to send it back quickly."’

"‘We found Balaji suitable for the job as he  is quite tall at his age and robust enough to manage the ball.  It worked out well and we provided him daily training with special guidance and sent him for National selection," he adds.

For Balaji, it is a big feat as he is under the care of his grandparents who could not afford to spend for extra-curricular activities.

"Before joining here, I studied at a school in a remote village where not much facilities are available for sports.  My family circumstances forced me to come to the city which eventually helped me to come up good in volleyball. I am indebted to school management for continuously supporting me and my grandparents who took a call at the right time and brought me here,’" said Balaji.

Apart from Balaji, the school has developed few other students in games like tennis, yoga and made them represent at the National level.

About this, T Natanasabapathy, headmaster of the school said," ‘Under the guidance of school secretary, Latha Ashok, we give special attention for developing the children in sports and identify individual talents.’"

"Ammalamma Trust, one of the wings of the school management, has been supporting this cause for over two decade,’ he concluded.

Balaji can be reached at 2474 3507,