Over the past year, the senior boys’ volleyball team at Gram Vikas Kankia Academy have made giant strides towards becoming a presence to be feared in local community volleyball leagues. But it was during an exhibition match on April 6th, 2014 – the International Day of Sport for Peace and Development hosted by Pro Sport Development – that they laid down their statement of intent for the forthcoming season.
Having spent a large portion of the day supporting junior development as well as the promotion of the girls’ volleyball program, it came down to the showpiece event where the team faced the coaching staff of the Khel Vikas Project. Now coached by senior volleyball coach Mohammed Razzak, himself a former national level volleyball player, the team were confident that they could overcome an opposing team consisting of volleyball / strength and conditioning coaches and teachers of physical education.
The players, many of whom face a pivotal year in their academic lives this coming year in class 10, appeared determined from the start as well as hugely excited to be playing many of the coaches that they work with on a daily basis. And whilst they were immediately put onto the back foot by a taller, stronger opposition, they were able to overcome the odds to win the match (best of three sets) in straight sets [25-22, 25-18].
There were strong performances throughout but the service game of Ganga Sabar was outstanding and provided the solid foundation that enabled front row players such as Juel Bhuyan and Niranjana Badaraita to excel, particularly during the second set. The attacking routines became tighter as the match progressed and at one stage, it looked as if the Kankia team would overwhelm their opposition entirely until a resurgence forced them to regroup. Under the leadership of captain Susanta Sabar, the Kankia team made a couple of changes to their line-up before dominating the final four points to claim the match
Concerns from previous seasons about the mental fortitude of the team appear to have been dispelled, particularly as the Kankia team had to play without the supervision of their coach on this occasion. The determination to win, and to win well, was in clear evidence as was a unified presence that is key to any team’s success. Finally, with the emerging talent from the junior section of the program, the senior squad is being bolstered by some blistering potential which will provide important cover during a long and arduous season.
The Kankia team is now looking ahead to a comprehensive pre-season and competing at district and state competitions. It is the hope of Pro Sport Development and the Khel Vikas Project that many of the students will continue their volleyball development in university as they progress to that academic level so as to maintain their health and fitness and well as improving employability. But for now, it is looking like an exciting season ahead for the volleyball program at the school.