The India captain will represent Kochi Blue Spikers in the tournament.

 The Indian Captain in the national team’s last assignment at the 2021 Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship in Japan, Karthik Madhu has fought numerous battles to become one of the best volleyball players in the country. The 31-year-old, who will feature as the Captain for the Kochi Blue Spikers in the RuPay Prime Volleyball League, spoke about how he stumbled upon the game of volleyball.

“My entry into volleyball happened at an unexpected time. I started playing volleyball when I was in junior college, while most other players start playing the sport during their school days. One of father’s friends, who was a volleyball referee, asked my father to induct me into sports because I have a good height. My father’s friend suggested that I should join the Sports Authority of India in Bangalore. Since I had a bit of knowledge about volleyball from my school days, I chose to play volleyball at SAI.”

Karthik, further added, that his family depends on his volleyball career now, “My father, who worked in a small construction business, passed away last year. The business is closed now. I got into volleyball because of my father. He showed the path to me. Now, I am the main income earner for the family. My family depends on me.”

Speaking about his initial days in volleyball, the Blocker, who is born and brought up in Bengaluru, said, “After I started practicing at SAI, I understood that I could make a career in volleyball and that’s when I decided that I have to do something in volleyball. When I started playing volleyball, I wasn’t good at it. Some of the players at SAI used to talk behind my back that I wasn’t good enough. Then I made up my mind that I should achieve something. I didn’t let their comments deter me and I took those comments in a positive way.”

Karthik, who also works as a postal assistant in the postal department in Bengaluru, further added, “I worked hard and I got selected for the SAI Bangalore team and played in Inter-SAI tournaments. I did my degree from Surana College and I played for my college team as well. I played my first junior nationals for Karnataka in 2009 and we won a Gold Medal that year. I also played as a guest player for BSNL. In 2011, I made my first appearance in the Senior Nationals. I played for India for the first time at the South Asian Games 2016, in which we won the Gold Medal.”

The experienced player also spoke about his other big triumphs in his career so far.

“Some of my other achievements include winning the Gold Medal with the Karnataka team at the Federation Cup in 2015. That was the first medal for Karnataka at the senior level. I was also part of the Gold Medal-winning team at the Senior Nationals in 2019. Karnataka had won its first-ever medal at the Senior Nationals that time,” said Karthik.

Speaking about the Kochi Blue Spikers’ preparations for the RuPay Prime Volleyball League, Head Coach Dr. M.H. Kumara said, “Our preparations are going on well for the tournament. We started our practice sessions with the 12 Indian players in our team in Kochi on 9 January before we arrived in Hyderabad. The foreign players joined our training set-up on 31 January in Hyderabad. We had our first training session with the complete team on Monday. Everyone has adapted to the conditions quickly.”

Kumara added that the Kochi team has a good mix of youth and experience.

“Every team has a chance to win the Prime Volleyball League as all sides have good players. We are certainly aiming to win the trophy and I think we have a good chance. We have a good crop of experienced players in our side and we also have plenty of youngsters in our team. The young players are the future of our sport and we are looking to groom them to develop the sport of volleyball in India,” signed off the Head Coach.

For more updates, follow Khel Now on TwitterInstagram and join our community on Telegram.