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Scheduling woes hit senior volleyball championship

By Our Principal Correspondent

KOCHI, DEC. 25. The Kerala State senior volleyball championship begins at the Pappan Stadium, Varapuzha, on Sunday but a clash of dates with the women's all-India universities tournament has put the meet's organisers in a fix.

The women's varsities championship will be held at Kondotty (Malappuram) from December 27 to 31 and the State championship organisers will now be anxiously following the progress of the State's four prominent universities — Mahatma Gandhi, Kerala, Calicut and Kannur — before putting up their fixtures.

"We'll have to wait for the teams to arrive, one by one, at Varapuzha and draw the fixtures accordingly," said the Kerala State Volleyball Association secretary K.P. Abraham this evening. "Probably, we may start the women's events by December 29," he said.

Virtually every team in the State, except Thiruvananthapuram (which will be packed with KSEB players), depends on collegiate talent to strengthen the side.

"Pathanamthitta Districts is loaded with Assumption College players while Kottayam should be full of Alphonsa College stars. These two colleges virtually make up the Mahatma Gandhi University team at Kondotty," said Mr Abraham. And a good majority of Kerala University's NSS College (Karamana, Thiruvananthapuram) volleyballers are likely to play for Alappuzha.

While the women's championship has kept the State association officials quite anxious here, everything seems to be clear about the State men's championship, despite two Kochi teams (Kochi Refineries Limited and Indian Navy) in action at the ongoing National League in Hassan, Karnataka.

The 14 teams in the men's section have been divided into four pools with two from each progressing to the quarterfinals.

Men's groupings: Pool A: Kozhikode, Idukki, Kollam. Pool B: Kannur, Thrissur, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram. Pool C: Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Wynad. Pool D: Malappuram, Ernakulam, Kasargod.

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