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FIVB-Chennai Challenger from Sept. 26

Special Correspondent


57 men and 26 women's teams in the fray

Total prize money for men is $40,000 and $30,000 for women


Chennai: To be showcased with all the trappings of an extravaganza from September 26 to October 2 on the sands of Elliot's Beach, the FIVB-Chennai Challenger international beach volleyball tournament promises to be the biggest event ever held here in this sport.

A highlight of the side shows during the tournament is the proposed fashion parade involving the 200-odd international participants in Indian traditional costumes.

That as many as 57 men and 26 women's teams from over 30 countries across the continents have entered the fray clearly underscores the recognition accorded by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). For the first time, a squad from Venezuela is expected to participate.

It is a gigantic project that needs to be executed with utmost professional zeal, observed Martin Sudhakar, Event Director, at a media briefing on Wednesday.

The administrators of the Marina Beach Volleyball Club, the host for the event under the direction and supervision of the VFI and TNVA, have gathered enough expertise over the years to meet the challenge after having conducted a similar event last year.

However, this time, the range and scale are phenomenal, with the best in the sport from United States and Brazil, the two automatic qualifiers to the main draw, making it here. Apart from the participants, the FIVB has deputed a team of technical officials from Japan, Portugal and China for the competition.

Thirty-two men's and 24 women's teams will qualify for the main draw, in which India has four wild card entries, two for men and two for women.

The total prize money for men is $40,000 and $30,000 for women. The men's winner will take home $6,400 and the women's squad $4,800.

Work has started at the beach for the construction of temporary galleries to accommodate around 3,000-4,000 spectators. Provision has been made for four courts. Martin Sudhakar said that all facilities (like change rooms, etc) for players are being set up to conform to the mandatory guidelines of the FIVB.

With a view to exercising firm control over the crowd, which is expected to be large, given the glamour and glitz associated with beach volleyball, it has been decided to have tickets for the matches. The rates are to be announced shortly.

R.P. Paramesh Kumar, Organising Committee Chairman, welcomed the gathering.

The Indian teams:

Men: N. Balaji & G. Srinivasan; Kiran Kumar Reddy & Kasi Viswanatha Raju (wild card); P. Mohan & John M. Pradeep; C. Rajkumar & R. Madusudanan; Dawaskar Ram & Dawaskar Prahlad; Ravinder Reddy & Muhammad Jamaluddin (wild card); S. Saravanan & K. Saravanan; T. Sashidar & Krishnam Raju; P. Sivabalan & S. Dhamodharan.

Women: Dias Christie & Dias Danish; C.V. Reshmi & C.K. Jeehma (wild card); Mahalakshmi Kanaka & Latha Sri; Christy Roselin & Ashya Basam; Swapna & Anita; Hemamalini & Sinehapriya (wild card) .

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