Chennai 6 March 2024: On the eve of the Bengaluru Torpedoes’ match against Ahmedabad Defenders on 26 February Pankaj Sharma, Captain of the Bengaluru Torpedoes franchise of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23, received the news that his wife would soon be expected to deliver their baby. The dynamic attacker, who hails, from a small village in Himachal Pradesh, was beside himself with joy, but chose to not tell his teammates about the same until the end of the match.

"As I stepped on the court, half my mind was occupied with that and half with the crucial match that we were playing. I kept the news to myself but played the match well even though I had other things running in my head at times," Pankaj recalled the storm of emotions in his mind.

The Bengaluru Torpedoes won the RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 match in straight sets. As the match concluded, Pankaj Sharma apprised the team of his situation and immediately headed to his wife’s side.

"I tried my best to concentrate on the game and when we secured the victory, I took stock of my feelings, the joy of winning, the excitement and concern of the delivery came crashing down on me," he recalled.

Pankaj, who is posted in the Indian Army camp of Secunderabad in the state of Telangana, was able to concentrate on the match, as he knew that his wife was in the Army hospital and was well taken care of. When he told his team about the news, without any delay or enquiry, the Torpedoes management booked him an early morning flight to Secunderabad.

“The next day I reached the hospital. Within minutes of my arrival, we were blessed with a boy. It felt like everything came together at the right moment, the delivery of our boy and the Torpedoes winning the match. There’s nothing that could mean more to me in life,” he added.

The news travelled quickly to Pankaj's hometown of Himachal, as his family, relatives, and friends celebrated. The 30-year-old year joined up with the Torpedoes squad at the Jawaharlal Indoor Stadium, Chennai again to take on Hyderabad Black Hawks on March 4th, and his side registered another win in straight sets. Immediately after the match, the league and team management celebrated with Pankaj with a small cake-cutting ceremony.

Now, the Torpedoes Captain is gearing up for a life where he would have to balance sports and family together. But he is thankful to his wife, for constant support.

“I realise that being an athlete and a dad will be difficult. I am grateful to my wife, who is also a national volleyball player herself, for supporting me in my journey so far and I know I can count on it as we embark on a new phase in our lives. So even though I might have to divide my attention between the two at times, I am confident that things will work out well for us,” he signed off.