It was her father’s dream that drew Usha Bhandari, a native of Tanahun in central Nepal, to volleyball, national game of nepal.
In 2014, her father Gajendra Bhandari, who was once a local volleyball player, went to the indoor hall of the Dasharath Stadium with a friend to watch the international women’s volleyball match between Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In that match, a Sri Lankan player wearing the number 7 jersey caught Gajendra’s eye. He still doesn’t know the name of that player, but at that time he saw a picture of his daughter in that Sri Lankan player.
This made him think of turning Usha Bhandari into a volleyball player. Immediately after arriving home, Gajendra asked Usha if she wanted to join a volleyball team. Without thinking twice, Usha, who was then captain of the school’s soccer team, agreed with her father’s decision. Looking back today, she believes it was the best decision of her life as her father is proud of her accomplishments in her nine-year career.
The 18-year-old national volleyball player has achieved many things that few athletes will dare to achieve, despite playing for a long time.
Usha Bhandari became the winner of the Central Zone Volleyball Champion in 2019 and 2021 and then the finalist of the 2019 South Asian Games as a member of the Nepal women’s volleyball team. She has also been a player in international clubs such as Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), Falcon Club, Vashafaru Club and Eagle Club. She was also awarded valedictorian at the NVA Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Championships.
Recently, she became a nominee for the People’s Choice Award under the NSJF Pulsar Sports Award 2078.
At the age of 12, Usha Bhandari played her first volleyball championship in the NVA Cup, representing the Nepal Police Club. Two years later, she debuted in the national team during the XIII South Asian Games 2019organized in Nepal.
Through his progress, he has already shown that age is just a number, but he still has a long way to go.
Usha Bhandari says that it is not just her hard work and dedication that made her an established volleyball player at such a young age. The support of her family has an equal role in making it happen.
“My family has always been my driving force; they just want me to study and focus on volleyball”, says the player.
Bhandari’s father tries as much as possible to attend all the matches that she plays. She says that her father’s presence gives her extra energy during the match and she also feels safe having her father close to her during the matches.
The father, who claims to be Usha Bhandari’s biggest fan, says, “Seeing her play on the court every time makes me proud and blessed.”
Not even the games, but the proud father doesn’t want to miss his training either.
The young force that leads the game
She is the youngest player on the Nepal women’s national volleyball team. But becoming the youngest player on the team has its own challenges despite being loved by everyone.
“Everyone on the team has high expectations of young players, and not meeting those expectations makes you nervous,” says Usha Bhandari.
In addition, he says that young players also put pressure on veterans to improve their game. If the seniors don’t play well, they will be replaced by the youth. So in this regard, to improve volleyball, Bhandari sees a great need for young and talented volleyball players. He expects a good number of young volleyball players in the next few days.
Since volleyball as a sport is relatively growing of late, Bhandari sees a lot of opportunities in it. “You may even be able to sustain your life through it,” she says.