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‘Forced to play outdoors’: Volleyball players lament poor infrastructure



‘Forced to play outdoors’: Volleyball players lament poor infrastructure

Despite having one of the best volleyball teams in the state, students at the SCD Government College in Ludhiana are forced to practice outdoors due to the absence of an indoor stadium at the college.

Volleyball players in action at Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Friday. (Manish/HT)

There are at present two centres for volleyball run by the sports department of the Punjab government in Ludhiana, with only one coach in each centre. One of them is in the SCD Government College where the boys’ team is trained and another at Guru Nanak Stadium, where girls and school students are trained.

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The players at SCD College mentioned the lack of infrastructure as one of the main reasons for students’ showing reluctance. Player Dheeraj Bhatia, a BA final-year student, said, “The team here is one of the best in the country. “Volleyball is an indoor game but due to lack of indoor facility, we are forced to practice outdoors. Despite this, we managed to defeat the team of Haryana, the state that provides the best infrastructure facilities, last year in the senior national games. Now, one can easily wonder about the future of our team if adequate infrastructure is made available.”

Another player and a final year student, Preet Karan, informed that their team won gold in the Khelo India University Games in February this year. “We grabbed a bronze in National Youth Games 2022 and now we all are gearing up for the World University Games scheduled in 2025 in Germany, the trials for which will be conducted next year,” Preet mentioned.

The volleyball players also mentioned playing the sport with a ball of a different brand affecting their performance as the one with premium quality does not support the outdoor environment. “We practice outdoors and compete indoors, which surely affects our performance as the temperature, wind speed, grip and flooring alters, and the summer season adds to our misery,” they highlighted.

Students, coaches and veteran players also mentioned the lack of job opportunities as a major reason for exceptional players leaving abroad and most of them discontinuing the game seeking job opportunities.

Coach Gurjot Singh said, “Out of 18 players we have, nearly 14 of them represented the state at the national level. We asked for an indoor facility for the students to practice, but the department is not paying heed to our requirements.”

When questioned on the lack of infrastructure and coaches for the game, assistant director sports Ranbir Singh Bhangu said, “I will forward the requirement to the department handling infrastructure and for the coaches, there is no vacancy in the sports department but we have demanded the creation of more posts for the games to uplift.”

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