Prime Volleyball League 2022: L.M Manoj sharpens skills for Ahmedabad Defenders

Manoj, 24, who is from Hassan in Karnataka, has made a splash with his Rs 7.25 lakh price tag for the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) 2022.

Manoj has a lot to prove in the Prime Volleyball League and will be keen on unleashing his ability with the block, a key defensive skill set.    -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

At a tiny bit above 6 feet 9 inches, not much is too much of a stretch for Indian volleyball player L.M Manoj, but he is reaching out for more and more on the court.

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

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

Manoj has a lot to prove in the Prime Volleyball League 2022, which begins on February 5, and will be keen on unleashing his ability with the block, a key defensive skill set. 

He has had a bit of big-game experience, having played in an India vs Pakistan match in the finals of the 2019 South Asian Games. India won the match 20-25, 25-15, 25-17, 29-27. He recalled, “An India vs Pakistan contest is always exhilarating, I felt the fire in me and the need to defeat them. As the game progressed, I was confident that we would win the match as we had top players, and they played well.” He has played for India but is yet to lock down a national spot with certainty. That's something he is keen on achieving.

Manoj’s picked up his sport early, dabbling with the game on the streets. 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 growing fast, and his brother sensed this height would help him in the sport. Since then, Manoj has grown to his current height of 206cm.

Initially, Manoj did not know much about how to get ahead in the sport. His focus narrowed after coach Ramesh started working with him. “At first, I was clueless about volleyball, I did not know that there were nationals and that I had a chance to play for India. But things changed after coach Ramesh came into the picture. He guided me and told me about the nationals and other volleyball tournaments.”

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After pursuing 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 is always exciting. I enjoy playing 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 Tamil Nadu members, the Ahmedabad Defenders blocker concluded, “I can’t pinpoint any particular team or member I want to defeat in PVL 2022. Whoever we play, we should beat."

Watch RuPay Prime Volleyball League (PVL) 2022, live and exclusive on SONY TEN 1, SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) and SONY TEN 4 (Tamil and Telugu) from February 5, 2022

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