Spectators’ stream matches on social media platforms
By: Sameer Showkin Lone
Anantnag: Move over the cricketing frenzies it is the time for Volleyball in south Kashmir. Amid soaring temperatures of summer, the Volleyball fever has gripped south Kashmir districts especially Kulgam and Anantnag.
A volleyball team from Chandigarh (Punjab) comprising players like Rajat Bodla who has represented India at international level in Volleyball have been these days dominating the Kashmiri volleyball teams on the playfields of south Kashmir raising the passion of spectators.
Both young and old people from far off places like Srinagar and Budgam throng to Anantnag and Kulgam villages to witness the high voltage volleyball matches between Kashmir and Punjab.
Unbeaten for the three consecutive games since their arrival in Kashmir, the Punjab team faced their first defeat on Friday (July 3) against the Kashmiri players locally named as Team Bahuballi.
The Kashmiri (Bahuballi) team comprised the players from all the three regions of Kashmir valley (north, center and south Kashmir) with an aim to defeat the Punjab. And the plan worked well as Punjab faced their first defeat against Kashmir in Qazigund volleyball court.
“We were able to defeat the visiting Punjab (Chandigarh) team after the strong players from all the three regions of south, center and north Kashmir formed a single team,” said Altaf Ahmed, a diehard volleyball fan.
The local players who are part of the Kashmir team that defeated Punjab include Asgar and Hanan Dar from south Kashmir, Abid Pathan from north Kashmir, Majid and Afaq from central Kashmir.
Ahmed travels around 100 kilometers daily from Shopian to Anantnag to Kulgam to reach the scheduled venue to watch the high voltage volleyball games.
As this story was being filed, another volleyball match was set to be played at Harnag in Anantnag district at 5 PM on Saturday evening.
People were seen heading towards the venue to watch what the spectators say another spectacular Volleyball match.
As has been the picture, the organisers say they were not expecting such a massive crowd and response.
“The Volleyball over the years has gained prominence in south Kashmir. We have got great talented players but all they need is proper guidance. These players play across Kashmir on their own pocket money. They don’t have any support from any side. Some best players had to leave their volleyball career midway given the financial crisis,” said a prominent volleyball player.
Another former prominent volleyball player from a village in Pulwama district, who was among the spectators, said has around 100 trophies at home which he has won during his heydays in the game.
“But I had to quit at one point of time. If I continued playing volleyball, who would feed my family. We never got any support from the government or sports department. I now drive a tractor to make my both ends meet. I hope these new boys get the support from the government like their counterparts from Punjab who are here playing,” he said, requesting not to be named, for personal reasons.
The spectators not only watch these matches, but some stream it on Youtube and other social media platforms.