The recently concluded Asian Games 2022 that took place in Hangzhou, China, witnessed the Indian men's and women's volleyball teams playing against some of the best teams in the world. The performance by the men’s team showed great promise, with the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 playing a pivotal role in developing and promoting emerging talent in the sport.

The Indian men's volleyball team finished sixth at the Asian Games surpassing pre-season expectations. The result reflects the potential that this young Indian team has to offer and bodes well for the future. At the previous edition of the Asian Games in 2018, the Men’s Volleyball Team finished twelfth which marked one of the lowest points for the sport in India. This time the Indian team had Cambodia and South Korea to tackle in the group stages. Here are some of the highlights from their campaign in China:

  • The men's team kicked off their campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Cambodia.
  • The next match was against three-time Asian Games Gold medallists, South Korea. One of the pre-tournament favorites, South Korea were expected to cruise to a comfortable victory against the Indians. However, what was in a store was an epic nail biting 5-set match for the ages. After taking the first set to the wire, Ashwal Rai missed the crucial set point in an unusual error. The team made amends in the second & third set and put up a strong fight to head into the 4th set leading 2-1. The South Koreans made a strong comeback in the 4th set and took the game into the deciding fifth set. The Indians held their nerve till the end and beat the favorites 17-15 causing one of the biggest upsets at the Asian Games.
  • After topping their group, in the next round they faced Chinese Taipei. The Indians dominated proceedings from start to finish and won 3-0. Next up was the quarter-finals against Japan.
  • The much higher ranked and more seasoned Japanese opposition proved to be a real tough battle for the Indian team. Despite their best efforts, the team succumbed to a straight sets defeat and would play their next match in the 5-6th position classification.
  • They faced arch-rivals Pakistan in the 5-6th classification match. The team gave it their very best but unfortunately lost the tie to finish 6th at this edition of the Asian Games.

There were some commendable performances from the Indian players. Kolkata Thunderbolts’ Ashwal Rai cemented his legacy as Indian volleyball’s ‘Mr. Dependable’ with his consistent performances. Hyderabad Black Hawks’ Amit Gulia was another player who overcame his injury issues and emerged as one of the shining lights from Hangzhou 2022. The star attacker was India’s top-scorer in the match against South Korea with 24 points.

RuPay Prime Volleyball League has become a crucial platform for nurturing and improving volleyball talent in India. The league has provided a platform for the players to gain experience, refine their skills, and develop a winning mindset. This was clearly reflected in India's spirited performance at the Asian Games, where they demonstrated the ability to go toe-to-toe with some of the best in the continent. With the right support and continued efforts to promote talent, India's volleyball teams are poised to achieve even greater success in the future.

While the men’s team gave their all, the women's team wasn’t far behind in putting in their best. India finished at the 9th spot, a commendable achievement considering the competitive field. This was an upgrade from Jakarta 2018, where the women’s team finished 10th. While their journey included defeats to strong teams like DPR Korea and China, they bounced back with victories against Nepal, Mongolia, and Hong Kong in the classification rounds. They showed grit and guts under pressure and showed that better days are around the corner for Indian women’s volleyball.

The future of Indian volleyball seems to be in safe hands, and significant progress is expected in the coming years. Kudos to the Indian volleyball contingent who have truly created a benchmark to the next generation.