National Volleyball Championships: Jammu & Kashmir girls serve it rightFebruary 22, 2018, Delhi
KOZHIKODE: They are shy in nature and some players are still hesitant to play in shorts, they don’t mind waiting for their opponents for an eternity, but the girls from Jammu and Kashmir are here to score some points, not just on the court but off it as well.
Ready to play their first game against Delhi, a bunch of excited girls from J&K reached the venue early and even had a small warm-up session only to be told that their opponents hadn’t arrived at the venue because of inadequate transport facilities. The organizers requested the J&K girls to play their match after the Railways-West Bengal game to which they agreed. They didn’t complain and took the court sometime later only to offer a meek surrender against highly-fancied Delhi.
They didn’t mind losing as the experience of playing in front of a sizeable number of fans in a national volleyball championship after having travelled all the way from the north of the country to the south was second to none for them.
“Coaching a women’s team in Jammu and Kashmir is not an easy task at all. We had to address a lot of hurdles before preparing this team for this championship. I know my players are not the best in this tournament but I am happy that they are getting a lot of exposure,” J&K coach Muneer Alam told TOI on Wednesday.
Against Delhi, J&K struggled in all departments. Their reception was poor, defence was below-par and attack lacked power. But according to Alam, this tournament is not just about performance for his girls.
“Yeah, it’s easy to blame the performance. Most of my girls are from conservative families and we even arrange sessions with players’ parents when their kids start training in volleyball. Taking a girl out of Kashmir is like taking their heart for many of them. If these girls continue training, they can improve their game in the coming years,” Alam added.
Political unrest in some parts of his state and cultural differences between provinces play a big role in developing the mindset of people in Jammu and Kashmir, says the coach. “All my players are students. Some are under-graduates and some are doing post-graduation. They have great physique and they are very aggressive in nature. I just want to channelize their aggression in a more positive way. That helps them everywhere,” the coach added.
Urwah Hinan, one of the senior players in the side, says volleyball has helped her mould herself. A PG student in law in Kashmir University, Urwah hopes to reach more heights through her game. “I am now the vice-captain of this side. Many girls have been showing interest to play volleyball. But the number of matches and tournaments are very less in our place. If we get more exposure, we can produce decent results,” said Urwah.
Sadiya Hussain, who gave up badminton for volleyball, says it was not easy in the beginning. “Though my parents gave me the support to give it a try in volleyball, it was tough in the beginning. But after I started training under Alam sir, volleyball has turned out to be the biggest passion in life,” said Sadiya.
Alam knows his team may not be able to beat their more formidable opponents in the tournament for him and his bunch of girls playing in the tournament is like winning it in itself.