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Top 10 Best Volleyball Player In India Ever

Volleyball has been a part of India’s sporting heritage for ages, yet it often sits quietly in the shadow of cricket. But not to worry, there is a dedicated bunch of volleyball enthusiasts who have consistently demonstrated their athletic greatness on national and international platforms. If you’re someone who’s keen to know about these inspiring athletes or doesn’t know much about the state of volleyball in India, then keep on reading because we’re about to take you on a little detour.

Today, we will be showcasing the top ten Indian volleyball champions, tracing their path from raw talent to remarkable success stories. But before we start, keep in mind that the journey of these players hasn’t been a smooth sail; it’s been packed with adrenaline, perseverance, and a whole lot of talent. With that said, let’s get down and talk about these legendary Indian Volleyball players.

List of Top Volleyball Player In India Ever

1. A. Palanisamy

Palanisamy was a beast on the volleyball court hailing from Tamil Nadu, India. This guy passed away on November 12, 2007, but not before leaving a mark in the world of volleyball. He showed off his skills in the Asian Games in the ’60s. His hometown is Kallampatti, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu. This guy was a powerhouse, known as the “Black Panther” after his intense attacks in the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta. That year, he was crowned Asia’s top player. A. Palanisamy was the first dude to grab or own the Arjuna Award in volleyball back in 1961. Before he called it quits in 1998, he coached in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu.

2. Jimmy George

Jimmy George

Jimmy George, a.k.a. the “God of Indian volleyball”, was born on 8 March 1955 and captained the Indian national volleyball team. This legend is one of the all-time greats in the sport. Jimmy played amateur volleyball for Kerala and India before going pro, becoming the first Indian to do so. He played for several professional clubs overseas, particularly in Italy. But, he tragically passed away in a road accident in Italy on 30 November 1987, at the young age of 32, while playing for Eurosibo Eurostyle. He still holds the record as the youngest volleyball player to receive the Arjuna Award. And without a doubt, Jimmy will be remembered for generations because of his skills and charming personality on the volleyball court.

3. Cyril Vellore

Cyril Chakkunny Valloor, aka Cyril Vellore
Image Credit: kerala.gov.in

Cyril Chakkunny Valloor, aka Cyril Vellore, was another volleyball hero from Kerala who played for the Indian national team. He captained the Indian team at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games where they won the bronze medal. Under his guidance, his team was considered one of the best to represent India at the Asian Games. In 1986, he won the Arjuna Award for his contribution to Indian volleyball. This volleyball star was a spiking and blocking specialist who graduated from Calicut University. He was also part of the gold-winning Indian team at the 2006 South Asian Games and the teams that bagged bronze at the 1980 Asian Cup and silver at the 1983 Asian Games.

4. Riaz Ahmed

Riaz Ahmed

Riaz Ahmed was a volleyball player born in Mallepally, Hyderabad. His soccer coach in high school noticed his unique athletic skills and encouraged him to try volleyball. Because of the influence of his coach, he became passionate about volleyball, and he found out that he had a spark for this particular sport. That’s the main reason why in 1958, he joined the Andhra Pradesh Police Academy volleyball team. He was a member of the national team from 1961 to 1973 and represented India in several international competitions, including the Asian Games. He was also the captain of the Indian volleyball team in various matches, making him an influential figure in Indian volleyball.

5. Balwant Singh Sagwal

Known popularly as Ballu, Balwant Singh Sagwal was a known name in Indian volleyball. Born in 1945 in Kaul village, Haryana, he was an ungainly youth standing tall at 6 feet 6 inches. From humble beginnings, Singh joined the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab, known for producing quality volleyball players. He helped Punjab reach national success in the mid-60s and 70s. For his stellar performance and contribution, he got the Arjuna Award in 1972. Singh played in the Asian Games of 1970, 1974, and 1978 and various test matches. He made a big impact in national championships from 1965 to 1988 and was a major reason why Punjab won the championships ten times between 1968 and 1981.

6. Nirmal Kaur

Nirmal Kaur

Nirmal Kaur Saini was born in Sheikhupura, Punjab (which is now part of Pakistan) on October 8, 1938. She earned her stripes as a respected Indian volleyball player and rose to fame as the captain of the Indian women’s national volleyball team. Away from the court, she proved her leadership mettle by serving as the Director of Sports for Women in the State Department. Her fiery passion for women’s sports was second to none, and she played an instrumental role in carving the future of women’s athletics in India. Besides being an athletic powerhouse, Nirmal was also an academic dynamo, grabbing a master’s degree in Political Science from Panjab University in 1958. She found love in the arms of another sports legend, athlete Milkha Singh, and together, they raised three daughters and a son, Jeev Milkha Singh, who mirrored his parents’ love for sports by turning pro in golf.

7. Abdul Basith

Abdul Basith, a Hyderabad native born in 1959, was a volleyball legend who left an indelible mark in Indian sports history. The man was a class act, known for his sportsmanlike conduct. He truly ruled the roost as the captain of India’s men’s national volleyball team from 1986 to 1989. One of his crowning moments was the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, where he steered India to a historic bronze medal victory. His magnificent contribution to volleyball was recognized with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1989. With his commendable on-court skills and off-court demeanor, he earned great respect in the Indian volleyball community.

8. Ashwal Rai

Ashwal Rai

Ashwal Rai is this 27-year-old sensation lighting up India’s volleyball stage. Standing tall as a middle-blocker for the Kolkata Thunderbolts team, Rai has devoted more than ten years to perfecting his game. He’s shone on the international stage, playing for India in top-notch competitions like the Asian Games and the World Cup. His medal haul includes silver from the National Level Men’s Volleyball tournament and the All India Inter University Men’s Netball tournament. His on-court brilliance and dedication have made him a great influence on many young volleyball players across the country.

9. G E Sridharan

G E Sridharan

Next is G.E. Sridharan, another titan in India’s volleyball history. From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, he truly was the Indian volleyball legend and he left a lasting legacy in the sport. Sridharan was not just a player, he also got into coaching and is now one of the known head coaches of India’s national volleyball team. His contribution to the sport was recognized with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1982, and later with the Dronacharya Award in 2008. His journey serves as a testament to the greatness that dedication and skill can achieve.

10. Govindarajan Ramakrishnan Vaishnav

A Chennai native and a proud member of the Indian Overseas Bank volleyball team, Vaishnav has marked his name in the sport. His first brush with volleyball was at the tender age of 12, and he’s been in love with the sport ever since. Under the guidance of the esteemed coach G.E. Sridharan, he scaled the heights of success. From the 2009 Junior World Championship to the 2014 Asian Cup, Vaishnav’s performances have been nothing short of exceptional and incredible. Besides showing his talent on the court, Vaishnav also impresses off it, holding a managerial position at the Indian Overseas Bank.


In our opinion, it is a good thing to get to know about the players in a particular sport because that’s how we can share the love and passion for underrated sports. However, in our opinion, the future of Volleyball looks pretty good, and legendary players like this are making this sport more mainstream.


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