Monday, Dec 01, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Avinash Nair
Uttar Pradesh's Neelam Ara and Stuti Pandey tries to block Indian Railways' S. Latha in the senior National volleyball championship at Davangere on Sunday. Photo: Sampath Kumar
Defending men's champion Uttaranchal has a wealth of talent in its ranks. Though it was a surprisingly subdued outing from the champion it still was trifle too much for Madhya Pradesh to handle as it caved in straight sets. Uttaranchal won 25-19, 25-18, 25-21.
In Subba Rao, easily the tallest player (210 cms) in its midst, Uttaranchal was never in trouble but the resistance that MO offered was indeed commendable, atleast in the first two sets. Both Umes Agnihotri and captain Jeetender Khushwah blocked and spiked well within its capabilities or what was allowed of it but it was fighting a losing battle right from the start.
In the first two sets the scores ran neck-and -neck till 9-all and 15-all before Rahul and Avinash Yadav turned the heat on with some telling smashes. Abhijit Bhattacharya too came up with some steep spikes that brooked no resistance as R.Kamaraj, adjudged as the World's `best setter' was as willy as he could get in setting up the `kill'.
In the decider, with two sets already in its bag, Uttaranchal with the cream of the team representing ONGC in the local scene, eased on the pedal and MP did capitalise. But the rally and the few counters it managed was just a flash in the pan.
Following Uttaranchal onto the courts were last year's runner-up Kerala, who sported a few new faces. Against Delhi, who squeaked through to the second phase thanks to an upset of sorts in the first phase when Bihar downed an otherwise unbeaten Himchal Pradesh, the Kerala side could afford to come good in patches and still win in straight sets at 25-22, 25-16, 25-23.
Tom Joseph was his usual self, spiking from all angles and all corners of the court. But it was young P.K. Sunil Kumar who caught the eye with some effective display at the net. B. Anil though did look lethargic to begin with, did warm up in the course of the match the fluidity was missing. But then on this day Delhi only splutered and stopped.
Kerala women, came into the championship with a hype but the game its dished out in the middle was far from convincing. The Kerala women did get past a fighting Maharashtra, which came through the first phase qualifiers, at 25-21, 13-25, 25-22, 25-20. Saliha Prasad leading the team, was hardlu noticeable on court while Gisha Thomas and Betsy K.T showed their prowess only in patches. Ahswini S. Kumar too did not come up with the high profile reputation she carried and it was veteran Mercy Anthony who was the lone stabilising factor.
Maharashtra led from the front by former Railway star Hemlatha Ursal did breach the defence time and again with some angled smashes but the double block employed by Kerala women came good as it won the first set 25-21.
However all the strategy and stability came apart as Maharashtra defended well and jolted its rivals with some crunching smashes in the second.
The setback did revve up the Kerala girls as it came back strongly in the next two to win the opener but will have to come up with some more impressive to go all the way in this championship.
The results: Men: Group E: Uttaranchal bt Madhya Pradesh 21-19,25-18, 25-21. Group F: Kerala bt Delhi 25-22, 25-16, 25-23.
Women: Group E: Railways bt Uttar Pradesh 25-7, 25-5, 25-19. Group F: Kerala bt Maharashtra 25-21, 13-25, 25-22, 25-20.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of