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Volleyball is his passion

J. R. Shridharan

Arjuna awardee Ramana Rao is on a mission to boost the game


  • Ramana Rao was the coach of Indian team, which finished fourth in the 1982 Asian Games
  • State Government urged to provide jobs to talented players
  • PETs involved to promote the game in a big way in the district



    ON A CRUSADE: Dronacharya and Arjuna awardee A Ramana Rao. PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR

    VIJAYAWADA: He eats, sleeps and dreams volleyball. For the sixty-year-old spiker of international repute, the game has not only brought name and fame, but along with it the responsibility of grooming the future players for both Andhra Pradesh and India.

    Meet A.Ramana Rao, winner of Arjuna and Dronacharya awards, whose active career spanned over 40 years. Presently, Rao is keeping himself busy as the president of Krishna District Volleyball Association. Along with his fellow administrators, he is keen to bolster the image of the game in all schools, colleges and also in rural areas of the district. Incidentally, Ramana Rao was the coach of Indian team, which finished fourth in the 1982 Asian Games at New Delhi and he is actively involved with Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) for the promotion of the game.

    Says Rao, "It is a fact that talent is on the wane in Andhra Pradesh. The perennial problem is the attitude of parents, who wish that their children should do well in academics. They are still having the view that sports cannot provide all the benefits of the materialist world."

    `Talent abundant'

    Rao is also of the view that though abundant talent is available in rural areas, many youngsters are not showing interest towards volleyball due to lack of coaches, quality equipment and infrastructure. He felt that Andhra Pradesh faced a vacuum when all the senior players like Venkatanayana, Singa Rao, Manoj Reddy, Venkatram Reddy and Venkatraghavan retired from the game after serving the team for 10 years. "During their stay, other youngsters were forced to warm the benches. They did not get a chance to be in the start six as the team was performing well. Many youngsters joined Central government units and started playing against Andhra Pradesh."

    Rao's find

    Rao said the State Government should evolve a policy, wherein all the talented players were provided jobs so as to enable them to play for their State. The district association decided to involve the physical education teachers in a big way to take the game closer to youngsters. "Last summer, around 30 PETs attended the refresher course, which was addressed by international referees' instructor Margalingam," he said. Junior India International Pradeep Kumar, a beanpole from Vijayawada, was the find of Rao.

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