Standing tall at 6 feet 8 inches, Indian volleyball player G.S. Akhin is primed to jump to greater heights in the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) 2022. 

Akhin, 30, who is from Kerala, is Chennai Blitz’s most expensive Indian player. He attracted a bid of Rs 9.75 lakh. Training at the Sri Ramachandra Medical College grounds since January 10, Akhin is enjoying the company of his Chennai Blitz teammates Mohan Ukkrapandian and Naveen Raja Jacob.

Confident of his team's experience and practice for the league, which begins on February 5, the Chennai Blitz blocker told  Sportstar , “The team is similar to the Tamil Nadu team I played in my first senior nationals and won in 2013 with Mohan, Naveen and G.R Vaishnav annas. So, we have an understanding and are looking forward to tackling challenges positively.”

Akhin’s ability to block, a key defensive skill set, secured him a spot in his first senior nationals for Tamil Nadu. A year later, he moved to represent Kerala and has been a part of the team since 2014. “After I joined the Kerala team, we were among the top three in senior nationals excluding one year till date and have won two golds, one silver and three bronze,” said the Chennai Blitz blocker.

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Thanking Muhammad Sari, a retired police official and former volleyball player who taught him the basics of volleyball, Akhin said, “Sari sir insisted that I learn the sport, so I started playing volleyball in the first year of my college. He trained me at the beginning, but after playing and watching others play the sport, I decided to play the sport.”

In an attempt to improve his game, Akhin joined Sri Krishna Arts and Science college in Coimbatore, where he met G. E. Sridharan, the current national coach. Unsure of his position and skills, it was Sridharan who suggested him to become a blocker and focus more on the defensive skill set.

In 2013, Akhin had made it to the national camp but was disappointed after not making it to the team that year. Two years later, he made it to the side, playing his first Asian Championships (India was placed 11th among 16 countries) in 2015 and has been in the team ever since.

Akhin wants youngsters who aspire to pursue a career in volleyball to make the best use of the opportunities given to them, calling PVL a big opportunity. “Indian players usually don’t get such opportunities, so make the most of it. Keep a goal for yourself and work hard to achieve it. Hard work is primary, luck and other factors are secondary."

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