Vinayak Rokhade: Looking forward to this new challenge of playing for Bengaluru Torpedoes

Vinayak Rokhade from Bengaluru Torpedoes believes that Prime Volleyball League is a great opportunity to play alongside foreign players.

Vinayak Rokhade from Bengaluru Torpedoes believes that Prime Volleyball League is a great opportunity to play alongside foreign players.   -  Special Arrangement

With the Prime Volleyball League scheduled to begin on February 5 in Kochi, there is an air of excitement in the Bengaluru Torpedoes' ongoing camp in Mysore. One of the team's mainstays, Vinayak Rokhade, reflected on the mood: "We are all really excited to perform in the tournament and give it our best for the Bengaluru Torpedoes team. Of course, there will be a bio-bubble situation, so we would have to adjust to that, but I am also really looking forward to that as it would be a new challenge."

He also added that this was a great opportunity for players from Karnataka and other parts of India to rub shoulders with some elite volleyball players from abroad. He said, "It will also be a great opportunity to learn from the foreign players in the tournament because they will have different styles of playing. I am hoping to pick up a few things and become a better player."

Vinayak forayed into volleyball in 2007 when his school teachers in the Belgaum district of Karnataka approached him for his well-built physique. He said the early support helped him hone his skills as a player.

"My parents always told me to take a chance and assess whether it could be done or not. They said there is no point in repenting later in life that maybe there was a chance in sports that you missed out on," Vinayak said.

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He made his international debut in 2013 when he was selected for the Junior Indian Team, and the next year, he played for the U-21 Indian team. In 2015, Vinayak received his first call-up to the senior Indian team and represented the nation at the Asian Championship in Iran.

"It was a great feeling representing the country and wearing the Indian jersey. Representing India in volleyball was one of the most memorable highlights of my career," he said. Another special moment of his career came in 2018 when he was part of the Karnataka squad that lifted the Senior Nationals title for the first time.

"Winning the Senior Nationals in 2018 was definitely a highlight of my career. We were the first Karnataka team to do so. I can never forget that moment, I could not believe it at the time that we did that," recalled Vinayak, who plays as a setter.

Now his focus is on doing well for the Bengaluru Torpedoes team and putting his experience behind the squad's campaign at the Prime Volleyball League this season. "We have been preparing well, and the team management has provided us with the best facilities to prepare ahead of the season which begins in Kochi. Apart from working on our game and building on the strategies, we are also bonding well as a team. These are surely exciting times, and we look forward to the new challenge," he added.

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