Asian Volleyball championship from Sep 17-20

Kolkata: Sanjay Kumar will captain the 12-member India side who will defend the title in the third Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship (Central Zone) to be held at Netaji Indoor Stadium from September 17-20.

The side has setter Ukkrapandian and libero Kanagaraj and is coached by Desh Raj of the Services in absence of head coach G E Sreedharan.

The 12-member team arrived in the city this morning and had a practice in the evening.

Meanwhile, after much fuss about their participation, the Pakistani side would arrive here in the afternoon, organisers said.

“They were to reach here today but later they decided to stay in Delhi for a day and then take the morning flight to Kolkata.

“They will be leaving Lahore for Delhi by bus on Wednesday morning. We are expecting them to be here by tomorrow noon. So they will be present during the inaugural programme,” Rathin Roy Chaudhury, joint secretary organizing committee, said.

After initially turning down visa requests, the Indian High Commission cleared the way for Pakistan’s participation in the four-team tournament which was last won by India in Islamabad (2006).

Top contenders Iran have sent a second string side to be led by Arash Sadeghiani.

“Their top side is preparing for the world championship to be held in Italy next month. However this side has two-three players from the main side,” a team official said.

Kuznestov Sergey will captain Kazakhstan in the tournament.

Governer M K Narayanan will inaugurate the tournament tomorrow as the organisers have planned a colourful rally in the 1km stretch from their maidan tent to Netaji Indoor Stadium.