Akhin GS is not one to miss on the volleyball court. The 6’8” middle blocker has worn shirt number 1 for the Indian team in recent years. But when the ‘icon’ player leads the Chennai Blitz attack in the Prime Volleyball League, he finally doesn’t have to explain to his friends and family what he does for a living.
“There was a huge response when a previous volleyball league was shown on television, people started to recognize me in the streets, in the markets. The Prime Volleyball League is a great opportunity for the best volleyball players in the country to get back into the limelight” Akhin told The Bridge.
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Akhin has won several national gold medals, gold medals in the South Asian Games, has played in the Asian Games. In qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics, the 30-year-old from Kerala was India’s second highest scorer. Even at the recent PVL auction, Akhin – at Rs 9.75 lakh – pulled one of the highest bids. But despite being a respected name in volleyball circles, few of Akhin’s best moments have visual recordings.
But when the PVL season starts, the evening series will be replaced by volleyball in Akhin’s house, as in many houses across the country.
“A lot of people are interested in volleyball because of this competition. A lot of juniors who play at the grassroots level – even from most inner cities – have asked me about the process of joining the PVL. A professional league like this and an audience because it’s exactly what a sport needs to grow,” said Akhin.
Akhin, one of the best players in the country today, initially refused to play volleyball. Cricket was his first love. Even when locals in his hometown of Pallickal – known in southern Kerala as ‘the land of volleyball’ – tried to persuade him to use his height in volleyball courts, Akhin stuck to cricket. It wasn’t until college that he agreed to seek advice.
A few years later, he is the ‘icon’ player of Chennai, the city’s second adopted son after MS Dhoni.
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“I’m a huge fan of MS Dhoni myself. It’s not fair to compare my brand equity to Dhoni’s, it’s up to fans to say if I can be associated with the city like him,” Akhin said.
On standing next to international players such as Venezuela’s Fernando Gonzalez, who played at the Tokyo Olympics, he said: “Tournaments like this allow us to test ourselves against the world’s top talents and serve us well for the upcoming Olympics.” .”
The PVL season is expected to start from February 5. All matches are expected to be broadcast on Sony Sports channels – Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Ten 4 – and streamed on SonyLIV.