Volleyball stands as one of the world’s most captivating sports. As global volleyball leagues and prestigious competitions orchestrated by FIVB gain momentum, India proudly embraces its league of volleyball luminaries. In this blog, you will read the top 10 famous Indian volleyball players.
These extraordinary players have graced the courts at Asian Championships, SAF Games, and FAJR International tournaments, adorning India’s legacy with gleaming gold, silver, and bronze medals. Undoubtedly, Volleyball’s aura knows no bounds, and the stage set by international competitions, thanks to the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), which has brought us face-to-face with the finest volleyball standards that India has.
List Of Top 10 Volleyball Players In India
Check out the best 10 Indian volleyball players who inspire the players till date:
Meet Jimmy George, a legendary figure in Indian Volleyball. Born on March 8, 1955, he left an indelible mark on the sport before his untimely departure on November 30, 1987. Jimmy captained the India national volleyball team and etched his name as one of the most famous Indian volleyball players in history. Hailing from the Kudakkachira family near Peravoor in Kannur district, Jimmy’s journey in Volleyball started under his father’s guidance. His exceptional talent soon landed him on the University of Calicut volleyball team, and later, in 1973, he joined St. Thomas College, Pala. With numerous accolades, Jimmy earned the captaincy and secured his spot in the Kerala State Team by the tender age of 16.
Achievements – Youngest volleyball player to win Arjuna Award
A. Palanisamy was a notable Indian volleyball player from Tamil Nadu. His contribution to the sport left an enduring legacy. Sadly, he passed away on November 12, 2007, leaving behind a remarkable journey. In the early 1960s, Palanisamy proudly represented India in the national volleyball squad during the Asian Games. It was his exceptional agility and enthusiasm on the court, particularly during the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, that earned him the affectionate nickname “Black Panther.” Notably, he was honoured as Asia’s best player the same year. Palanisamy also secured the prestigious Arjuna Award, marking his significant presence as a trailblazer among famous Indian volleyball players. Following his retirement from active play, he even coached the Sivaganga District in Tamil Nadu.
Achievements – First player to win Arjuna Award
Cyril C Valloor
Meet Cyril Chakkunny Valloor, a renowned name among famous Indian volleyball players. Rooted in Kerala, Cyril was a prominent Indian men’s national volleyball team player. His unforgettable journey included leading the Indian team to victory in the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, where they secured the bronze medal under his captaincy. This achievement marked a significant milestone in Indian volleyball history, with Cyril’s major role in the team’s success. Cyril Valloor formed a dynamic duo alongside the legendary Jimmy George, making Indian Volleyball a dominant force in the 1980s. His exceptional contributions were acknowledged with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1986, adding to his legacy. An alumnus of Calicut University, Cyril’s impact on Indian Volleyball remains unforgettable.
Achievements – Bronze medal in the Seoul Asian Games
Balwant Singh Sagwal
With an imposing height of 6 feet 6 inches and hands and feet to match, Balwant Singh’s journey from a humble background led him to join the Border Security Force (BSF) in Jalandhar, Punjab. The BSF’s volleyball tradition thrived during his time, showcasing the prowess of players like Balwant Singh.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he propelled Punjab’s success on the national stage. His stellar sportsmanship and contributions garnered him the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1972. Ballu’s influence stretched beyond borders, representing India in the Asian Games of 1970, 1974, and 1978 and test matches with the most famous volleyball players in the world.
Achievements – Received the Arjuna Award for his performance
Ramavtar Singh Jakhar
Ramavtar Singh Jakhar, a prominent figure in the list of famous Indian volleyball players, hails from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district. With a birthdate of May 15, 1970, in Nawalgarh, he emerged from the family of Shri Navrang Singh Jakhar, a former Nawalgarh MLA. A graduate of Rajasthan University, Ramavtar currently serves as Deputy Manager at Jaipur’s State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur headquarters. Holding esteemed positions, including Secretary of the Rajasthan Volleyball Association and Vice-President of the Rajasthan Olympic Association, his career is adorned with honours like the Aravali and Maharana Pratap awards. A true icon in Indian volleyball, he remains an inspiration in the sport.
Achievements – Became the Vice-President of Rajasthan Volleyball Association
G E Sridharan
G E Sridharan, from Tamil Nadu, India, is known among famous Indian volleyball players. He played for India’s national volleyball team from the late 1970s to the late 1980s. Notably, he was the second player from Tamil Nadu to be honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1982. Presently, he serves as the India men’s national volleyball team coach and was previously the Tamil Nadu Volleyball team coach. His coaching prowess led India’s youth volleyball to new heights, clinching gold in the Asian Volleyball Championship. In recognition of his accomplishments, he received the Dronacharya Award in 2008, although many believe it came a bit late considering his remarkable achievements.
Achievements – Received the Arjuna award
G R Vaishnav
G R Vaishnav, born on February 11, 1990, is a vital national team member. Wearing jersey numbers 1 or 11, he also excels at the Indian Overseas Bank team. His journey began at 12, and he professionally developed his skills at Coimbatore’s schools and Sri Krishna Arts and Science College. Under the guidance of esteemed coach G. E. Sridharan earned a spot in the Tamil Nadu State Senior Men’s team in 2008. His participation contributed to India’s fourth-place win in the 2009 Junior World Championship and a silver medal in the 2014 Asian Cup. Currently playing for Ahmedabad Defenders in the Pro Volleyball League, Vaishnav’s trajectory is an inspiration.
Achievements – Best blocker in Asia Cup, 2014
Udayakumar made his mark both on and off the court . He depictedhis skills with teams like Kerala State Electricity Board and Kerala Police. His journey also took him to Qatar, where he played briefly for a professional team. After retiring as a player, he transitioned to coaching and guiding the Dubai Police team. Udayakumar’s dedication extended to organising sports events like the 2013 National Games. Beyond volleyball, he excelled in his career as well, rising to the role of Aide de Camp to the Governor of Kerala. Tragically, he passed away while on duty in 2014. His legacy lives on; he was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1991.
Achievements – Received the Arjuna Award
Riaz Ahmed, born on 7 April 1939, is a famous Indian volleyball player. He proudly represented the Indian national team at the 1966 Asian Games. Riaz was encouraged by his high school soccer coach to play volleyball due to his exceptional athleticism. Joining the Andhra Pradesh Police Academy volleyball team in 1958, he later became a key figure in the India men’s national volleyball team from 1961 to 1973. Notably, Riaz’s leadership inspired players like Jimmy George. He played a crucial role in India’s achievements, including a bronze in the 1964 Olympics and a 4th place in the 1966 Asian Games. His legacy continues to influence Indian volleyball.
Achievements – Received the Arjuna Award
Surprised to see a woman on the list? Yes, Nirmal Saini was considered a top name among famous Indian volleyball players back in the era when females had limited rights. As the former Captain of the Indian Women’s Volleyball Team, she left an indelible mark on the sport. Born on October 10, 1938, in Sheikhpura, Punjab (now part of Pakistan), her passion for the game ignited early. Besides her volleyball prowess, Nirmal Milkha Singh was also a distinguished academic, earning a Master’s degree in Political Science from Punjab University in 1958. Notably, she is the proud mother of the world-renowned golf player Jeev Milkha Singh.
Achievements – Captain of India’s National Volleyball team
Jimmy George is considered the God of Volleyball and has been a known name among the most famous Indian volleyball players.
In Kerala, people have a unique craze for Volleyball. This is also why most famous Indian volleyball players are from Kerala.
Nirmal Kaur/Nirmal Saini is one of the most famous Indian volleyball players among females.
The team has had little to no presence in the global platform throughout its existence, but by winning a silver medal and two bronze medals at the Asian Games, it has gained some success there.