A journey on the wings of hope

In a young Karnataka women’s volleyball team, Swetha Sandeep cuts a contrasting figure thanks to her vast experience in the game. 

 

Swetha, a former India international and once a regular member of the Karnataka women’s volleyball team, made a sudden exit from the sport four years ago, owing to lack of job opportunities.

The 28-year-old, who represented the senior Indian side in the Asian Championship in Chinese Taipei in 2011, made a comeback to competitive volleyball in the 64th Senior National Volleyball Championship here.

The mother of an eight-month old baby girl, Swetha says her return to the sport was far from easy, after going the family way. “It was a challenge, juggling my training and motherhood. I would train for four hours in the morning and rush back home to take care of my child. Training after a long time took a toll on the body and it was hard to adjust to the rigorous schedule. My knees and ankle would hurt a lot. But I managed, thanks to the encouragement from my parents and my husband Sandeep, who is a software engineer.”

Encouraged largely by her father Nagaraju D, a former RBI volleyball player, Swetha’s interest in the sport grew during her college days. After playing in the State ‘A’ Division championship in 2005, Swetha was picked in the State squad for the 55th Senior National Championship in Chhattisgarh. Her first international entry came in 2007, when she was picked in the Indian Youth squad for the Asian Youth Girls Volleyball Championship in Thailand.

“My happiest moment was when I received a call up to the national team. I was also extremely happy when I was honoured with the Ekalavya award by the Karnataka government in 2011,” says Swetha.

She says it’s still tough for women players to find a job. “Job opportunities are very less for women in Karnataka. Many players are still unemployed in our State,” she remarks.

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