PVL Season 3: Karnataka's Ashamat Ullah, a runaway finding home with volleyball

Chennai, Feb 27 (IANS): Having made a bright start in the second season of the Prime Volleyball League, Karnataka's 27-year-old Ashamat Ullah made a running landing in the next season after recovering from an injury suffered in the previous edition.

Playing for the Hyderabad Black Hawks against the Ahmedabad Defenders in Season 2, Ashamat Ullah, an outside hitter, scored six points, and helped his side attain a thrilling 3-2 win. After that superb start, the future seemed bright for the youngster But Ashamat's destiny had other plans for him.

While training for the next game against the Kolkata Thunderbolts, Ashamat suffered a fracture in his pinky finger, ruling him out for the rest of the tournament.

"I was heartbroken, and I cried a lot. At the time, I had thoughts in my mind to just quit volleyball. It was a fracture, I knew it would recover, but I was really depressed," Ashamat, who is once again back this year for the third season of Prime Volleyball League, representing Hyderabad Black Hawks, said.

Supported and motivated by friends and family members, Ashamat went through an intense three-month recovery process and found a way back to the sport he fell in love with at a young age. "It was hard period, but I knew the injury would heal. I am grateful to be given another chance this year by Hyderabad. This tournament is important for all of us as it gives us a platform to get recognition."

While growing up in Jangamakote village in Karnataka, Ashamat's school did not have any sports facilities. To spend time with his friends, he started competing in local volleyball matches in his village. "Volleyball is a popular sport in our village and a lot of players come from there. But at that time, I was not aware of professional volleyball."

The stars aligned for Ashamat when he was spotted by a player from SRM University, Chennai, during a local match in his village, and was invited to give trials. But his parents, who ran a small, dwindling, silk business, were not keen on allowing him to travel far away. Ashamat lied that he was going for a state match, gave his trials and was selected. "At SRM, everything was free for us. We used to earn money after our matches which helped in sustain myself," he recalled.

After a couple of months, Ashamat returned home without telling his coach due to family pressure, and he decided to take exams for Reserve Police Officer. But he needed documents to appear for the exam and he called his coach for help. But his coach insisted that he return to play volleyball.

Ashamat, once again, told his parents that he was going to fetch his documents, and did not return for 2.5 years, sharpening his skills at the University. "I learnt everything at the University under the guidance of the coaches and my fellow players. After spending nearly 3 years, I had to return home once again after our silk business closed down and my brother suffered an accident. I took an examination for the Army and I was selected."

Holding the Havildar position in the Indian Army, Ashamat was able to help sustain his family. While his parents passed away, his brother and his extended family now run a small grocery shop.

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old continued playing for the Indian forces team, and eventually, managed to earn his first international cap for India last year, showcasing his talent at the Asian Championships in Iran. Now, Ashamat has one dream left. "All I want to do is continue playing the sport. I want to see Indian volleyball reach the Olympics, and I hope I can represent my nation on the biggest stage," he signed off.


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Title: PVL Season 3: Karnataka's Ashamat Ullah, a runaway finding home with volleyball

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