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Quality fare in the offing

By Our Sports Reporter

DAVANGERE Nov. 25. The District headquarters of Davangere sports a festive look. And with the entire Government and Corporation machinery swinging into action the venue of the 52nd Senior National volleyball championship indeed looks set to feast the sport-loving people here with a feast of top class action over the next twelve days.

The organisers were in for a rude shock this morning as Madhya Pradesh sent in two teams. While the MP Volleyball Association headed by Maeemuddin came in this morning, the Aslam Khan-led faction reached this evening under the MP Amateur Volleyball Association banner. After a brief meeting off the Volleyall Federation of India (VFI) Control Committee the problem was settled with the Aslam Khan-led team allowed to participate in the championship.

The championship this year has an open look even though Uttaranchal, the reigning champions looks a formidable side once again. But then Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the finalist and the fourth placed side, in the last edition at Chauthala (Haryana) cannot be discounted. Punjab as usual is a tried and tested lot.

In the women's section though one would not be tempted to look beyond oft-crowned champion Indian Railways, the fast-improving Karnataka and forever bridesmaid Kerala will pose a few challenges down the way. Tamil Nadu and West Bengal women too can be expected to put a spoke at crucial junctures.

The four courts at the District stadium is all spruced up for the championship with three of the four courts floodlit and reedy for action. The fourth could well be used only from the second phase which commences from November 30.

20 teams have been divided into four groups and the toppers from each of the four will join the eight quarterfinalists in the second phase. The second phase once again has four pools with the eight quarterfinalists and the qualifier (in a three team group) playing on league format and the top two from each group advancing into the quarterfinal stage, which will again be played on a league format.

The two top teams from each of the two quarterfinal leagues will then play the criss- cross semifinals.

The groupings:

Men: Preliminary phase: Group A: U.P., Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Pondicherry, Mizoram. Group B: AP, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Assam. Group C: HP, Delhi, Bihar, Gujarat, J&K. Group D: Chandigarh, MP, Orissa, Go, Tripura.

Secon phase: Group E: Uttaranchal, Karnataka, qualifier (D1). Group F: Kerala, Services (Quali (C1). Group G: Punjab, Railways, quali (B1). Group H: TN, Haryana, Quali (A1).

Women: Preliminary phase: Group A: MP, HP, Rajasthan, J&K. Group B: Uttaranchal, Haryana, Bihar, Goa. Group C: Maharashtra, Chattsigarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand. Group D: Delhi. U.P., Orissa, Pondicherry, Assam.

Second phase: Group E: Indian Railways, Chandigarh, quali (D1). Group F: Kerala, punjab, Quali (C1). Group G: Karnataka, AP, Quali (B1). Group H: West Bengal, TN, Quali (A1).

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