Sidelined Rai eyes Fed Cup return

Sidelined Rai eyes Fed Cup return

After missing out on donning the State colours in the recently concluded Senior National Volleyball Championship owing to an eligibility issue, Karnataka’s Ashwal Rai is hopeful of making a comeback in the Federation Cup scheduled in February. 

Rai, who used to be with the Indian Overseas Bank, headquartered in Chennai, was not allowed to compete in the Senior Nationals held here last week by the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) due to late submission of the transer documents.

The VFI refused to provide Rai with the No Objection Certificate (NOC), stating that the request for the transfer from the Karnataka Volleyball Association (KVA) came in the 11th hour.

Rai, who hails from Mangaluru, revealed that his omission came as a huge shock and he never expected it. “After quitting my job and completing all the formalities, I never expected I will still miss the championship.”

The 22-year-old added that he has put the incident behind his back and is now practising hard, with the Federation Cup, to be held in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, being his first goal. “I am currently training in SDM, Ujjire and I am hopeful of making a comeback in the Federation Cup. The tournament is a good opportunity to impress the national selectors ahead of  the Asian Volleyball Championship. But I am yet to receive the NOC from the VFI,” expressed Rai.

Rai admitted that it was a bitter experience watching the championship from the sidelines. “Following my exclusion on the opening day of the championship, I was told by many officials that I was still in with a chance and I waited with hope. It was very disappointed. My coach and team-members too were disappointed. It affected the team’s rhythm early on in the tournament,” he said.

Rai felt that his presence in the side could have brought some difference to their play. “I observed that the opponents used the short pass to good use and I felt I could have proved to be effective in gaining more points in my usual role as a centre blocker,” he noted. Karnataka crashed out in the quarterfinals, losing to eventual champions Indian Railways 1-3.

KVA Secretary K Nandakumar said that the association will be sending a fresh request to the VFI on Rai’s transfer in a couple of days.

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