Fearless spiker riding a wave of confidence

Personality : Jerome Vinith has been a standout performer on the volleyball scene

Fearless spiker riding a wave of confidence

Kerala’s stupendous run in the recently concluded Senior National Volleyball Championship once again showcased the enormous calibre of their star player – Jerome Vinith C.

Vinith’s power-packed performance was the cornerstone of Kerala’s domination over their rivals and the 24-year-old all but won his team the gold, before they narrowly lost to Indian Railways in the summit clash.

It is hard to miss Vinith’s presence in a match, with his booming smashes leaving the opposition defence in tatters. Vinith’s match-winning ability and boundless energy on court makes him every rival team’s envy and his fast growing talent is a hit a among the volleyball fans of the country. 

Having entered the country’s volleyball scene in 2011, when he played the Junior National Championship, Vinith achieved his dream of representing the Indian team three years later and the youngster has since established himself as a key asset in the national team.

Hailing from Pudukkotai district in Tamil Nadu, the 6’ 5’’ foot player with a strong physique dons the role of a universal in the team — a player who has the ability to attack from any position on court.  

Son of a farmer, Vinith’s tryst with volleyball happened in 2011, when he played the Junior Nationals. “I joined Jamal Mohammed College in Tiruchirappalli in 2011 and my first coach was Balan sir. After playing in the Junior Nationals, I was noticed by senior coach of SRM University S Dakshinamoorthy and it was he who asked me to join the university to further work towards my dream of playing for India,” recollects Vinith.

The move to SRM University proved to be the turning point in Vinith’s career. Groomed well by Dakshinamoorthy, Vinith’s excellence was first witnessed in the State Championship in 2013 where he single-handedly outsmarted favourites Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) in the final to give SRM an historic triumph. Vinith’s inspiring effort made SRM the first university to win a State Championship.

Soon after the success, he was picked in the Tamil Nadu State team for the 63rd Senior Nationals in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Cashing in on the opportunities that came to him in a side filled with experienced players, Vinith made a mark in the championship and Tamil Nadu emerged triumphant to give Vinith his first Senior National gold.

“It was a great feeling to win the gold. Many senior players advised me to keep up my good work. Many senior coaches, including the current Indian team coach GE Sridharan asked me to continue my good performance and keep improving. It was wonderful to receive accolades from such experienced names of Indian volleyball,” says Vinith.

His biggest achievement though arrived in 2014, when he made it into the Indian squad and Vinith has since then been a regular member of the team, having played in the Asian Cup (Kazakhstan), the Asian Games (South Korea) and the Asian Volleyball Championship (Iran).

 A job offer from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Kochi, saw Vinith shift allegiance to Kerala in 2014. Vinith’s stint with Kerala has so far been encouraging as the talented spiker has stood out in the State team that won silver medals in the 2015 National Games and the 2016 Senior Nationals.

Vinith’s journey though has not been without setbacks. The toughest was an injury to his right knee in 2012 that kept him out of the game for eight months. “My right knee underwent a surgey following an injury. It was one of the lowest points of my career and I owe great gratitude to Daskshinamoorthy sir and Durai Singh from Sports Devolopment Authority of Tamil Nadu who encouraged me during the difficult eight months of my career,” says Vinith.

Cherishing an eventful career, Vinith believes in a fearless approach towards the game. “I don’t fear the opponent. I believe in aggressive approach and my only aim is to help my team win.”

Kerala head coach K Abdul Nazer attests the no-fear attitude of Vinith. “Vinith has a great fighting spirit and he doesn’t fear any situation. In the semifinal against Punjab (at the Senior Nationals), we had squandered a two-set advantage to push the match to the decider. It was a very tough time for me as a coach. But before the fifth set, Vinith promised me that he will win the tie for Kerala. And he remained true to his words,” notes Nazer.

Looking ahead, Vinith’s goal is to keep improving. “I want to contribute more to my country and want to keep learning the finer points of the game,” he says.

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