The Indian team was confident of qualifying for the World Cup by finishing in the top four in the ninth Asian Youth (under-19) volleyball championship to be held in Tehran from October 24 to November 1, said its chief coach Abhimanyu Singh.

The original list of campers was pruned down from 28 to 19 and from them the 12 were picked to represent India in the Asian championship. The team will be led by Ranveer of Punjab.

“We have a perfect blend of blockers and defenders and we are confident of putting up a much improved display (India finished fourth in the last edition),” the chief coach said.

He said the team was placed in the same pool along with Japan and Turkmenistan and once it makes it to the next round, it would run into bigger teams.

“Given the intensity of preparations we should do really well as a medal is our first objective and not just participating,” said Abhimanyu Singh who has been monitoring the camp in the company of assistant coach Ramana Rao of SAI (Vizag) and trainer Harilal (Kerala). “The boys have the height and the game and if they play to their potential, they can pull off major surprises,” the coach said.

The Indian youth girls will also take part in the ninth Asian youth championship in Chengdu (China) from October 12 to 20.

The team: Ranveer (capt), Mohan, N. Shravan, A. Sandeep, Sandeep Kumar, Shivendra Vikram Singh, Suraj G. Naik, Atul Kumar Singh, K. S. Ragul Raj, Prashant Kumar Saroha, P. Prashanth and D.N.K. Venkatesh. Head coach: Abhimanyu Singh. Assistant coach: K.V. Ramana Rao. Trainer: S.T. Harilal. Manager: V. Ravikanth Reddy. Referee: Anjali Sardesai.

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