Prime Volleyball League 2022: LM Manoj Improves Skills for Ahmedabad Defenders

At just over 6 feet 9 inches isn’t too much for Indian volleyball player LM Manoj, but he’s reaching out more and more on the court.

Manoj, 24, who hails from Hassan in Karnataka, has made a splash with his price tag of Rs 7.25 lakh for the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) 2022. The Ahmedabad Defenders team chose Manoj, who is eagerly waiting to start training with his teammates from January 17.

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“For now, I’m focusing on fitness training. I hope to learn and implement tactics as advised by international players and the seniors in the Ahmedabad team,” Manoj told sports star.

Manoj has a lot to prove in the Prime Volleyball League 2022, which starts on February 5, and he will do everything in his power to unleash his skills with the block, a key defensive skill.

He has gained some experience in the big game, having played in the final of the 2019 South Asian Games in a match between India and Pakistan. India won the match 20-25, 25-15, 25-17, 29-27. He recalled: “A match between India and Pakistan is always exciting, I felt the fire in me and the need to beat them. As the match progressed I was confident that we would win the match because we had top players and they played well.” He has played for India but is not sure of a national spot yet. That is something he would like to achieve.

Manoj picked up his sport early on and played with the game on the street. At the age of 12, he started playing volleyball in school and later his brother sent him to DYES, Bengaluru (Sports Authority of Karnataka). Manoj was tall and grew quickly, and his brother felt that this height would help him in the sport. Since then, Manoj has grown to his current height of 206 cm.

Initially, Manoj didn’t know much about how to get ahead in the sport. His focus narrowed after coach Ramesh started working with him. “At first I had no idea about volleyball, I didn’t know there were nationals and I had the chance to play for India. But things changed after coach Ramesh came into the picture. He guided me and told me about the national and other volleyball tournaments.”

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After taking BSc Physical Education from SRM University while under coach Dakshinamoorthy, Manoj has been playing for Indian Bank, Chennai since 2018.

During this time, he has also played for Tamil Nadu. “I’m from Karnataka, but I’m a member of the Tamil Nadu team, so matches against Karnataka are always exciting. I like to play with my teammates from Tamil Nadu-Mohan Ukkrapandian and Muthusamy Appavu (my classmate at SRM).” Mohan was selected by Chennai Blitz in PVL 2022, while Muthusamy will join Manoj as a setter, an offensive position in the Ahmedabad Defenders camp.

When asked if he would like to compete against Ukkrapandian’s team and the members of Tamil Nadu, the Ahmedabad Defenders blocker concluded: “I cannot point to a specific team or member that I want to beat in PVL 2022. Whoever we play, we have to beat.”

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