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PVL: How Hyderabad Black Hawks' Ashamat Ullah Found Home In Volleyball Amid Army Training

Indian volleyball player Ashamat Ullah's journey is one of ups and downs. The 27-year-old from Karnataka, who suffered a fracture in the previous PVL season, has defied his family's wishes and undergone Army training before representing the country and the Hyderabad Black Hawks

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Ashamat Ullah (centre) in action for Hyderabad Black Hawks at Prime Volleyball League 2024 in Chennai. Photo: Prime Volleyball League
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In the second season of the Prime Volleyball League, the 27-year-old Ashamat Ullah had a bright start. Playing for the Hyderabad Black Hawks against the Ahmedabad Defenders, the outside hitter scored six points and helped his side attain a thrilling 3-2 win. The future seemed bright, but Ashamat's destiny had other plans for him. (PVL Tournament Guide | More Volleyball News)

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 back this year for the ongoing third season of Prime Volleyball League, representing Hyderabad Black Hawks, said. India's premier volleyball league can be watched live on the Sony Sports Ten TV channels, and streamed on the Sony LIV app and website.

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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 a 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 at Jangamakote village in Karnataka, Ashamat's school did not have any sports. 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 about professional volleyball."

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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 for 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 is going for a state match, attended the trials and was selected. "At SRM, everything was free for us. We used to earn money after our matches which helped in sustaining myself," he recalled.

After a couple of months, Ashamat returned home without telling his coach due to family pressure, and he decided to write exams for the reserve police officer post. But he needed documents to appear for the exam and called his coach for help. His coach insisted that he return to play volleyball.

Ashamat told his parents that he is 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 three years there, I had to return home after our silk business got shut down and my brother suffered an accident. I wrote an examination for the Army and was selected."

Holding the havildar position at 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 Armed Forces team, and eventually managed to earn his first international cap for India last year, showcasing his talent at the Asian Championships in Iran.

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Now, Ashamat has one dream left. "All I want to do is continuing playing the sport. I want to see Indian volleyball reach the Olympics, and I hope I can represent my nation at the biggest stage," he signed off.

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