As the 38th junior National volleyball championship for boys' and girls' entered the third day, a clear picture emerged from the pool matches, with the favourites hogging the limelight at the Sidhu Kanu Indoor Stadium at Durgapur on Tuesday.

Last year's boys' champion Uttar Pradesh and Pondicherry emerged on top in Group A, with nine and five points respectively, at the halfway stage. Last year's runner-up Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are joint top with nine points each, while Tamil Nadu and Punjab are on course to qualify from Group C.

Haryana and Karnataka, with nine points each, qualified for the knockout phase from Group D.

Similarly, the defending champion in the girls' section, Kerala (3 points) trails Punjab (5), but is expected to advance further. Last year's losing finalist Tamil Nadu (9 points) and Uttar Pradesh (6 points) are calling the shots in Group B.

Host West Bengal (9) and Haryana (6) in Group C, and Karnataka (8) and Maharashtra (7) in Group D are the favourites to make the next stage.

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