The Tamil Nadu men opened their campaign in style by beating Railways 25-23, 23-25, 25-12, 25-15 in a group ‘A’ preliminary league match of the 61st National volleyball championship at the Sawai Man Singh Indoor Stadium here on Monday.

On a cold evening, Tamil Nadu warmed up for the challenges ahead by riding on the splendid performance of G.R. Vaishnav, the tallest player in the team, who attacked and blocked with equal efficiency, particularly in the fourth game.

Tamil Nadu fought an even battle in the first two sets, but realigned itself nicely with better defence to outplay Railways in the next two. Naveen Raja Jacob’s sizzling serves fetched the team many free points, while the rest combined well.

Railways looked good in patches, but was unable to assert itself once Tamil Nadu improved the quality of its game. P.V. Sunil Kumar stood out for Railways with his all-round performance.

In the women’s section, Tamil Nadu bounced back from a sedate start beat Andhra Pradesh 22-25, 25-7, 25-20, 25-20. The girls took their time to settle down, but regrouped nicely to impress with their all-round game. Coach V. Ragothaman was happy with the victory and was particularly appreciative of the attacking game from P. Narmadha and L. Jennifer, who spiked with gusto.

In an almost similar story, Himachal Pradesh girls recovered from losing the first set to beat West Bengal in a thriller. The top teams enjoyed good playing conditions thanks to the two indoor courts available, although one of the courts did not have a functional electronic scoreboard.

A manual scoreboard was arranged only for the men’s matches, while proceedings of the women’s matches remained a suspense to the spectators.

Though the weather was chilly in the morning and evening, teams in action outdoors had a warm sun to negotiate.

The results (league): Men: Group A: Tamil Nadu bt Railways 25-23, 23-25, 25-12, 25-15; Group B: Punjab bt Services 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 25-15; Group C: Chhattisgarh bt Jammu & Kashmir 25-14, 25-14, 25-22; Andhra Pradesh bt Jharkhand 25-16, 25-21, 25-20; Group D: Gujarat bt Assam 27-25, 25-21, 26-24; Group F: Delhi bt Himachal Pradesh 25-14, 25-19, 25-17; Maharashtra bt Madhya Pradesh 25-18, 25-14, 25-12.

Women: Group A: Tamil Nadu bt Andhra Pradesh 22-25, 25-7, 25-20, 25-20; Group B: Himachal Pradesh bt West Bengal 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18; Group C: Odisha bt Maharashtra 25-18, 25-15, 25-17; Group D: Rajasthan bt Jammu and Kashmir 25-5, 25-7, 25-2; Group E: Chandigarh bt Uttarakhand 25-10, 25-15, 25-9.

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