Talented spiker Pratibha

Kathmandu, July 19

Pratibha Mali is just 15 years old and she has already established herself as a key member of the national team.

Mali was one of the key members of the national team that won bronze in 12th South Asian Games in India earlier this year. Mali was just 13 years when she shined in the national team during the South Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship in Kathmandu.

Her club, New Diamond Club participated in five domestic tournaments last year and claimed one title and finished runner-up in four others. She has become the backbone of her club after Ramila Tandukar left for the United States.

Mali completed the hat-trick of best player’s award when New Diamond won the Open Volleyball Tournament for the third straight year in Pokhara. In all, she won best player’s trophy in three tournaments and was named the best spiker in two others.

Mali made headlines throughout the year and that also earned her the nomination in People’s Choice Award under Pulsar Sports Award 2072. “We have been playing well as coach Kumar Rai has put in a lot of efforts,” said Mali. “The team members are also cooperative and they always support me,” she added.

Coach Rai described Mali as a hard working player. “She is very accurate in spiking and she is a hard-working as well as disciplined player,” added the coach who has been a challenge to the strong teams like Nepal Police Club, Nepal APF Club and Western Region.

Volleyball has dominated the People’s Choice Award, formerly known as Popular Player of the Year. Four spikers, Manju Gurung, Sipora Gurung, Ramila Tandukar and Saraswati Chaudhary have won the award. This time around, Mali is in race along with footballer Nawayug Shrestha, lifter Tara Devi Pun, cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane and table tennis player Nabita Shrestha.

The award is selected by SMS voting and Facebook Likes. THT LIVE 3311 is the official voting partner of the Award, while Avenues TV is the broadcast partner.

Hansraj Hulaschand and Company Pvt Ltd is the main sponsor of the event, while ISME, Surya Nepal, Dish Home, Ruslan Football, Hotel Royal Singi, John Players, Timex, RJ Sports, Emazing, Nepal Music, All in One Arts Service, Hotel Crown Plaza, New Horizon Carpet, National Sports Council and Nepal Olympic Committee are the co-sponsors and partners. The Award, which features eight categories, is slated for July 21 at the Nepal Academy Hall.