(Last Updated on : 24/02/2012)
Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) came into existence in the year 1951 in Ludhiana
(in the Indian state
). Ever since its inception, the federation has played a crucial role towards promoting the game in India. Prior to the formation of VFI the game was managed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and in those days the Interstate Volleyball Championship were held every two years from 1936 to 1950 for men only. The first ever match were held in the year 1936 at Lahore now in Pakistan.
Ever since the VFI has come into existence, the Indian team has participated in World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Championships, Asian Championships and many other International Tournaments held in India and abroad. India won Gold medal at the Invitation Asian Meet at Japan in 1955. In the third and fourth games that took place in 1958 and Djakarta in 1962, India won bronze and silver medal respectively. India got a major set back when no player was honoured with the Arjuna Award
from 1963 to 1971. Ever since then, the Indian Volleyball Team has taken part in many competition of national and international stature.
Volleyball Federation of India was quick to popularize the game in India, and it was quick to fall in line World body's desire to make the game popular. India happens to be one among the many nations where the hockey league was started - National Volleyball League Club Championship was spread across different centres culminating in a Final League.
The popularity of the game went to a new height when India received gold medal at SAF games in 1987 at Kolkata
, in the state of West Bengal
. The Indian team, again, pocketed the gold medal in 1991 at Colombo. After this, the women's game started gaining popularity. Though they put up a good show in the 1993 SAF games at Dhaka, the women's team is yet to make an impact as big as their male counterpart. In India, many players won Arjun Awards for volleyball
Some of them include, Palaniswamy(1961), Nripjit Singh (1962), Balwant Singh(1972) after a 10 year gap, Malini Reddy, Shyam Sundar Rao, Ellamma, Jimmy George etc. Among these players, Jimmy George in particular, was a very talented player. He was the first Indian player to become a professional and was also regarded as one of the best ten players in the world in his time. Sadly though, he met a bad end dying in a crash in Italy.