Hosts India start favourites to retain Volleyball title

Kolkata: Buoyed by their historic bronze finish in the Asian Cup (Iran) last month, reigning champions India start as firm favourites in the third Asian senior men’s volleyball championship (central zone) beginning at Netaji Indoor courts on Friday.

India, who had won the title in the last edition of the meet held at Islamabad in 2007, will open their campaign against Kazakhstan in the four-nation meet tomorrow evening.

Top contenders Iran have sent a second string side to be led by Arash Sadeghiani as their top side is preparing for the World Championship to be held in Italy (September 24-October 10), that makes the task easier for the hosts country.

“This is a great opportunity to beat them (Iran) here. We definitely have a bright chance of defending the title. The boys are together for quite sometime now. We won a bronze in the Asian Cup after 24 years and after that we had a successful Europe tour (Poland and Slovania) for over a fortnight,” captain and universal Sanjay Kumar told PTI on
the eve of their opener.

India were narrowly beaten by Iran 3-2 in the semis to miss a final berth, but they returned with a bronze after thrashing Chinese Taipei 3-0 in the third place play-off.

Not the skipper of the Indian side, Sanjay Kumar, however, had a memorable outing winning the ‘Best Scorer’ award.

Sanjay said this tournament would take them in the right direction for the upcoming Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou in China in November.


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