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Volleyball

PVL: A rare chance for volleyball star Akhin GS to show what he does

Akhin GS is one of the top volleyball stars in India, but he says that the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) will be a game-changer because it will be shown on television.

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Akhin GS trains for Chennai Blitz ahead of the 2022 Prime Volleyball League season

By

Dipankar Lahiri

Updated: 2022-01-19T12:12:27+05:30

Akhin GS is not someone you can miss on the volleyball court. The 6'8'' middle blocker has worn jersey number 1 for the Indian team for the last few years. But when the 'icon' player leads the Chennai Blitz attack in the Prime Volleyball League, he will finally not have to explain to his friends and family what he does for a living.

"There was a huge response when an earlier volleyball league was shown on television, people started recognizing me on the streets, in the markets. The Prime Volleyball League is a big chance for the country's best volleyball players to come into limelight again," Akhin told The Bridge.

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Akhin has won several national gold medals, South Asian Games gold medals, has played in the Asian Games. At the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics, the 30-year-old from Kerala was India's second highest scorer. Even at the recent PVL auction, Akhin – at Rs 9.75 lakh – attracted one of the highest bids. But despite being a revered name in volleyball circles, few of Akhin's best moments have visual recordings.

But when the PVL season starts, evening serials will be replaced by volleyball in Akhin's house, like in many houses across the country.

Akhin GS trains for the PVL season

"A lot of people are interested in volleyball because of this league. A lot of juniors playing at the grassroots level – even from the most interior districts – have asked me about the process to join the PVL. A professional league like this and an audience for it are exactly what a sport needs to grow," Akhin said.

One of the country's best players now, Akhin initially refused to play volleyball. Cricket was his first love. Even when locals in his hometown Pallickal – known in southern Kerala as 'the land of volleyball' – tried to coax him to utilize his height to advantage in volleyball courts, Akhin stuck to cricket. Only in college did he agree to give in to advice.

Fast forward a few years, he is Chennai's 'icon' player, the city's second adopted son after MS Dhoni.

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"I am myself a huge fan of MS Dhoni. It's not fair to compare my brand value with Dhoni's, it is up to fans to say whether I can be associated with the city like he is," Akhin said.

Speaking about lining up alongside international players such as Venezuela's Fernando Gonzalez who played in the Tokyo Olympics, he said, "Tournaments like these let us test ourselves against the top talents in the world and stand us in good stead for the upcoming Olympics."

The PVL season is expected to start from February 5. All the matches are expected to be telecast on Sony Sports channels – Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Ten 4 – and streamed on SonyLIV.


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