Luis Antonia Arias: PVL will nurture Indian talent

Venezuela and Hyderabad Black Hawks spiker Luis Antonia Arias says the format of the league will help make the sport more popular.

Hyderabad Black Hawks' Luis Antonia Arias. - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India has plenty of talented volleyball players and they can make a mark on the international stage with exposure gained by tourneys like the Rupay Prime Volleyball League, believes Venezuela’s Luis Antonia Arias.

Arias, one of only two Olympians in the PVL - other being David Lee - is regarded as one of the key members of Hyderabad Black Hawks.

“This PVL is a huge platform to showcase the standard of Indian volleyball to the world and the format itself is really exciting, leaving no room for complacency,” Luis told Sportstar.

Luis felt that the format of the PVL will help make the sport more popular. “Yes, playing in front of crowds would have been great. But, again, the safety of everyone concerned is of utmost importance. The reason why I am here is I loved the whole concept. The format, I repeat, keeps everyone on the toes. The super point is a wonderful novelty,” he said.

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Luis wasn’t deterred by the challenge posed by the bio-bubble.

“The bio-bubble has its own challenges for sure and I am familiar with them. And, it also gives you plenty of time to share your thoughts, learn about the history, culture and heritage of this country too. Right now, it is training and playing and nothing else like going out,” he said.

Biggest achievement

He says participating in the Tokyo Games is his biggest career achievement.

“Personally, being part of the Tokyo Games is the biggest achievement for me. I tested positive before the Games. There was a phase when there were people dying in huge numbers from the pandemic when I wondered whether I would ever make to Tokyo,” he recalled.

“Given the fact that it took me more than a decade of playing for the national team to get there. Well, when we left Venezuela, it was a 16-member squad and when we reached Tokyo it was reduced to 12 because four more tested positive,” he said.

A big fan of NBA star Luka Doncic, Luis recalled how he literally chased some superstars such as Novak Djokovic and felt like a kid in capturing a few snaps with them.

The Black Hawks spiker felt his team remained one of the strong contenders for the title despite suffering a couple of defeats.

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