Wednesday, Mar 27, 2002
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CHENNAI, MARCH 26. Based on the reports of chief coach, Chander Singh, and special observer Mr. Kothandaramiah, who were with the victorious Indian team in the Rashid memorial men's international tournament at Dubai recently, the VFI has recommended the Indian squad for the ensuing Asian Games in Pusan this September.
Considering the strong field at Dubai, the Indian team's achievement was `fantastic.' Naturally, the VFI officials are thrilled by the success. By beating Ukraine, Iran and Tunisia for the title the Indian volleyball team is in focus again.
Mr. K. Murugan, Secretary, VFI, said the officials were quite happy with the way the team beat Iran in three straight sets in the final and Ukraine in the semifinal. Iran is No. 4 in Asia as per the last Asian championship's performance record.
``If you look at Iran's achievements in the last three or four years, you will know how strong the team is in Asia. It has beaten or rattled Asian giants like China, Japan and Korea. Iran is also a strong contender for the Asian title now. So our boys did extremely well in the final. The first time when the two teams met in the league phase, the Indians were sluggish and lost. But in the final the team combined smoothly. In fact, Mr. Kothandaramiah feels there is still scope for improving the performance further.''
Another excellent win was the one over Ukraine in the semifinals. For the last three years, Ukraine, adopting the aggressive European style, has dominated the Rashid memorial tournament. And the semifinal win was the first for India against the former Soviet State.
``It is up to the Government now. The Indian squad is well set. It just missed the bus in the World championship qualifier last year. Now the boys have proven their worth. They deserve this break,'' said Mr. Murugan.
Meanwhile, the process of building a strong team continues with the VFI planning a tour of China and Thailand. The Andhra Association is also keen to host the Sivanthi Gold Cup international tournament before the National Games.
``We have plans to rope in all the teams that figured in the last Rashid memorial tournament for the Sivanthi Cup. Thailand, Iran and UAE will certainly be there. We are in touch with the Ukraine and Tunisia federations,'' said Mr. Murugan.
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