Srinagar: From playing in the rugged fields at his small hamlet in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district to rubbing shoulders with country’s best, Haroon Rashid, an 18-year-old Volley ball player of the Valley, has come a long way.
Hailing from a remote village of Koil, Haroon is the first and only volleyball player from the valley who was selected and participated in All India camp for 21st Asian Men’s U-20 Volleyball Championship. The players, who received coaching from India’s best trainers during the camp that lasted for one-and-a-half-months, were selected from across India based on their performance.
Haroon, who plays at all-rounder position, has played in sub junior nationals, junior nationals and school nationals. He has been the captain of the state team for the past two years. Under this captaincy, the team has won 4 matches consecutively in junior nationals, which is a record in Kashmir for the sport of volleyball.
Inspired by his uncle, he started playing the game seriously in 2018.His talent was spotted by a volleyball coach, Muneer Alam, during a match, who brought him to his volleyball club and refined his skills.
“Volleyball has good acceptance and following in my district. We go to different districts to play games and we also witness huge crowds. It's good entertainment for them too. I have taken guidance from many people, and everyone has given my confidence,” Haroon says.
He wants to play for team India in future. However, he adds, the facilities provided to the players are not enough. “Lack of residential camps is one of the problems faced by the players. I have reached some position. I want to train hard so that next time, I will perform even better but the lack of academies and camps will hamper the growth of players like me,” he said.
Unlike Srinagar, the love for the game of volleyball is far more in other districts but those places lack indoor and other facilities.
“There is an indoor facility for volleyball in Srinagar only. Players from far off places find it difficult to reach there every day. There should be one indoor facility for two districts so that players can practice and hone their skills for representation at the higher levels at which the game is played,” he said.