Express news service
KOZHIKODE: Twenty years ago, Dinesh Kumar T, a rickshaw driver, was a worried man. Because he saw that the young people of his village of Payambra went astray after becoming addicted to alcohol. This led him to think about ways to wean young people from the clutches of alcohol abuse. He believed that the magic of volleyball can attract young people and help them avoid falling into the dark side of life, while still staying in shape.
In 2001, a determined Dinesh filled his 26 cents of land with 200 trucks of dirt to convert it into a volleyball training facility. Thus began the journey of the Volley Friends Sports Center (VFSC) from Payambra to Kuruvattur panchayat. Twenty years later, the center has helped discover four national team players, six state team players and many more at the district level. The academy’s women’s team became the champions of the State Interschool Volleyball and Keralolsavam Championship, both in 2019.
A sleepy village until Dinesh’s volleyball academy took hold, Payambra catapulted around 30 players into jobs with the railroads, military, air force and KSEB. “The change that volleyball has brought to our village is beyond my expectations. Now we have three volleyball courts, one of which is covered, in addition to a gym and an office, ”explains the 49-year-old, whose great concern now is to find the resources to do so. operate the academy.
Remya K, a native of Payambra and an assistant professor at the Government Arts & Science College in Nadapuram, says Dinesh has made sport an effective tool in improving the lives of young people. “The spirit with which teenage girls in a village play volleyball in the midst of a huge crowd without any inhibitions is a pleasure to watch,” she says.
In his youth, Dinesh used to play seven-a-side football tournaments in distant Malappuram and Kondotty. “At the time, there was no one to guide us in the sport. I don’t want this to happen to the new generation, ”he says. Although he is aware that he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in income by continuing this way, he is not ready to give up his passion. Although without any formal training, he has helped coaches like Vineesh Kumar, Sreedharan Thikkodi and TK Raghavan Nair for years and picked up the nuances.
The academy now trains 130 young people, aged 10 and over, about half of whom are girls. Besides Dinesh, two other trainers run the sessions in three batches – morning, evening and late evening. Vinya NM, Reshma T, Anushree KP and Nandana V went on to represent India after starting at Payambra academy. Dinesh’s two children, Parthiv and Devananda, also train with Volley Friends.