'Looking forward to new challenge of playing for Bengaluru Torpedoes,' says Vinayak Rokhade
Vinayak Rokhade believes the Prime Volleyball League is a great opportunity to play alongside foreign players
With the Prime Volleyball League scheduled to begin on 5 February in Kochi, there is an air of excitement in the Bengaluru Torpedoes ongoing camp in Mysore. One of the team's mainstays Vinayak Rokhade reflected on the mood in the camp and said, "We are all really excited to perform in the tournament and give it our best for the Bengaluru Torpedoes team. Of course, there will be a bio-bubble situation, so we would have to adjust to that, but I am also really looking forward to that as it would be a new challenge."
He further emphasized that this is a great opportunity for players from Karnataka and other parts of India to gain the exposure of playing with some of the most elite volleyball players from abroad. He said, "It will also be a great opportunity to learn from the foreign players in the tournament because they will have different styles of playing. I am hoping to pick up a few things and become a better player."
Vinayak, who forayed into volleyball in 2007 when his school teachers in Belgaum district of Karnataka approached him for his well-built physique, said it was the support he received in his budding days that he could hone his skills as an International player. "My parents always told me to take a chance and assess whether it can be done or not. They said there is no point in repenting later in life that maybe there was a chance in sports that you missed out on," Vinayak said.
He made his international debut in 2013 when he was selected for the Junior Indian Team, and the next year, he played for the U-21 Indian team. In 2015, Vinayak received his first call-up to the senior Indian team and he represented the nation at the Asian Championship in Iran. "It was a great feeling representing the country and wearing the Indian jersey. Representing India in volleyball was one of the most memorable highlights of my career," he said. Another special moment of his career came in 2018 when he was part of the Karnataka squad that lifted the Senior Nationals title for the first time.
"Winning the Senior Nationals in 2018 was definitely a highlight of my career. We were the first Karnataka team to do so. I can never forget that moment, I could not believe it at the time that we did that," recalled Vinayak who plays as a setter.
Now his focus is on doing well for the Bengaluru Torpedoes team and put his experience behind the squad's campaign at the Prime Volleyball League this season. "We have been preparing well and the team management has provided us with the best facilities to prepare ahead of the season which begins in Kochi. Apart from working on our game, and building on the strategies, we are also bonding well as a team. These are surely exciting times and we look forward to the new challenge," he added.