Brahmaputra Volleyball League aims to bring out rural talents

Probably first time ever in India, 144 volleyball matches will be played in a single league for close to three months spread across 16 different districts involving 32 boys’ and 17 girls’ team competing for a total prize money of Rs 2 lakh starting from December 12.

Brahmaputra Volleyball League (BVL) is a unique initiative of Assam Volleyball Mission (AVM) 100 to popularize the game of volleyball in remote locations with community participation in the state and beyond.

The Brahmaputra Volleyball League will also be a platform for identifying talented players at grassroots level. Brahmaputra Volleyball League will be exclusively for under-16 age category boys and girls.

“The idea behind this league is to engage the local community for creating a sporting environment in their respective villages. The league will be organized in home and away format, which will give each team/ village an opportunity to host matches as well as visit other locations as guest team,” Abhijeet Bhattacharya, former India volleyball captain and the brain behind the AVM 100, said.

The main objective of BVL is to provide a platform to aspiring volleyball players and give them an early exposure to professional volleyball, Bhattacharya said.

“The Brahmaputra Volleyball League will be watched around 1 lakh people live from different parts,” he added.

For the sports lovers it is a wonderful opportunity to promote volleyball by adopting a team.

“We are organizing this league with support from people like you and us. We still don’t have enough budgets to run the league but we are confident together we will make this happen for the young children of our villages who wish to play a sport. We welcome any kind of support, remember for us and for the children playing at the ground even a banana can make a lot of difference. However, if you feel like, you also have the option of adopting a village team with only a contribution of Rs 15,000,” Bhattacharya said.

Bhattacharya who started playing volleyball since 1988 and went up to lead the national side in between 2003 and 2005 said that they want to focus equally on the girls.

“We have seen that there are lesser opportunities for girls in sports for various reasons. But we don’t want it to happen. We want the girls to come out and perform. I’m hopeful that this league will bring out many talented girls who will be able to represent their country in future,” he reckoned.

Team formats at Brahmaputra Volleyball League

The 32 boys’ teams registered for BVL 2020-21 are divided in three zones. In every zone there are three groups and in each group there are four teams (except for zone 3, where there are three teams in each group).

The super league will be played in one location where all the four teams will play among each other. The top two teams will play for the gold medal match of Brahmaputra Volleyball League.

The 17 girls’ team registered for Brahmaputra Volleyball League 2020-21 are divided in four zones. In each zone there will be two groups and in each group there will be two teams (except for group F, where there are three teams in the group). Every team in each group will play one match in their home ground and one match in their opponent ground.

The best of three matches will be played in 4 vs 4 format with each game of 25 points. A team winning a match in their home ground will get 2 points and a team winning a match as guest on opponent ground will get 3 points. The top team from each group will qualify for the next round.

Assam Volleyball Mission 100

Assam Volleyball Mission 100 campaign was started to promote volleyball in the state by Bhattacharya and some of other players. Bhattacharya said that though volleyball is a popular game, in the rural areas, there is a lack of the basic infrastructure, even to get a ball is difficult for many.

Abhijeet Bhattacharya (5th from left standing) with a village team | Image Courtesy: AVM 100

So, they started to provide 100 balls to local groups or clubs across the state. And if possible even more balls. Gradually, in the second and third phases, they will try to produce 100 quality players in as many good clubs.

They will also plan to invite some prominent national coaches to train the coaches of the state.

More than 56 villages including tea gardens have been covered by the AVM 100 so far in the state and it’s increasing.

During the nation-wide lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bhattacharya continued his mission through video calls with the boys and girls from across the state.

Brahmaputra Volleyball League logo unveiled

The logo of the BVL was unveiled by Hima Das on December 2.

“I’m really happy to unveil the logo of Brahmaputra Volleyball League, a first of its kind initiative to promote sports at grassroots in my home state Assam. The logo with the girl spiking the ball across the Brahmaputra Valley gives a loud, clear and positive message,” Hima said.

About Abdul Gani

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Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist

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