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Volleyball tourney a smash hit

The city has carved a niche for itself in the history of Andhra Pradesh volleyball by hosting the 33rd Reliance Junior Volleyball Championship in a splendid way. Reports J. R. SHRIDHARAN

PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR

KILLER INSTINCT At no point in time, the players compromised on their winning spirit

We have won accolades of the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) as well as the visiting teams. In fact, never in the history of Indian volleyball, a private college was chosen as the venue for a national event. The management of P.B. Siddhartha College of Arts and Sciences lived up to the expectations of the game-lovers by staging the mega tourney in a smooth and successful manner.

"We have been conducting volleyball tournaments for South Indian colleges and also among all-India sports hostels for more than a decade. The experience has given us confidence to bid for the national tournament. Thanks to the Siddhartha Academy and our title sponsor Reliance Industries Limited, we have been able to stage the event in a grand manner," said Ankamma Choudary, physical director of the college. The weeklong tournament, which began on January 15 and ends on January 20, witnessed many young spikers from different States in action.

But the generally poor standard of girls was a worrying factor for the game's organisers. Barring the teams from Kerala, Chandigarh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, all others churned out a lacklustre show. "They are not physically strong and majority of the girls lack good height. They rather prefer to float the ball in the air than go for the jump and smash," felt Surinder Kaur, a coach.

Giving their best shot

Dronocharya and Arjuna awardee A. Ramana Rao felt that the boys and girls, before taking up volleyball as a full-time pursuit, should have played other games in their childhood. "Children should spend good amount of time in the playground, indulging in games like kabaddi, kho-kho, athletics, besides undergoing some physical training. Just possessing some height and undergoing training for a few years will not help in the long run," he opined.

The event showcased many thrilling encounters, especially in the boys' section, with teams from Karnataka, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan exhibiting quality display. The presence of Indian coaches and selection committee members was also a reason for the spikers to give their best shot, as the players knew that their chances of getting into the national teams that would take part in several forthcoming international tournaments hinged on their performance here. The national teams would be selected on the concluding day.

The tournament also became an occasion for a discussion among the Indian coaches about the "misadventure" of Government of India and the VFI of appointing Brazilian coach Jose Augusto Sabatini as the national coach. Sabatini ended his 10-month-long association with the national team last month after the Indian seniors, under his guidance, bowed out of Doha Asian Games at the end of a pathetic show.

"Indian volleyball won many laurels under the able guidance of Indian coaches, and there is no dearth of coaches in India. The gamble of roping in a foreign coach misfired and the confidence of the players was shaken," felt Mr. Ramana Rao and another national coach Shyam Sundar.

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