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Help Nepal, New Diamond win volleyball titles

Players and officials of Help Nepal Sports Club (men’s champions) and New Diamond Academy (women’s winners) pose for a group photo after the third NVA National Club Volleyball Championship at the National Sports Council covered hall in Kathmandu, on Monday, September 19, 2016. Photo: Udipt Singh Chhetry/THT

Kathmandu, September 20, 2016: Help Nepal Sports Club and New Diamond Academy claimed the titles of the third NVA National Club Volleyball Championship here at the National Sports Council covered hall today.

Help Nepal outplayed Tribhuvan Army Club in three straight sets of 25-21, 27-25, 25-17 in the men’s section final, while New Diamond defeated another departmental side Nepal Police Club in straight sets of 25-18, 25-14, 25-18.

After taking the first set with ease despite being tied at 17-all at one stage, Help Nepal almost went down against the departmental side in the second set. They bounced back from 24-22 deficit to win the set and make it 2-0. Help Nepal, whose line-up included four Indian players and coach, claimed third set comfortably maintaining their lead from the beginning. Help Nepal’s victory also ended departmental teams’ dominance in Nepali volleyball. No other team has win the title since 1992 after departmental teams Nepal Police Club and TAC began taking part in the tournaments organised by the Nepal Volleyball Association. Nepal APF Club, who joined later, is the third departmental side.

“Losing the second set was the main reason behind our defeat as we lost the rhythm after that,” said TAC coach Jagadish Bhatta. “Our service and block departments also did not work properly today,” he added. Bhatta added that the Nepali players had a great opportunity to learn from Indian players.

Help Nepal Team Manager Arun Shrestha was happy to end the dominance of departmental teams. “The recruitment of Indian players strengthened our team and that also helped in providing exposure to Nepali players,” Shrestha added.

Help Nepal coach Surendra Kumar, also the coach of India’s Inspector Team, said the match was highly competitive. “The teams were good but the level of Nepali team is really low,” he added. Help Nepal had beaten defending champions NPC and APF en route to the final.

In women’s final, New Diamond dominated NPC from the beginning as the departmental team looked hapless against the team of school children from 11 to 19 years. New Diamond trailed only once in the match when they were 3-6 down in the third set. “The team lacked coordination as we had three new players,” said NPC skipper Kopila Upreti. “We were also weak in defense and receiving the ball was a big problem today.” Upreti also praised New Diamond players for their solid defense. “Although they had a couple of players with small heights, they were good in defense. And Pritibha Mali and Kripa Adhikari were the backbone of their team,” she said.

New Diamond skipper Lalita Nath said the final was not a competitive one. “We won the match comfortably as the NPC did not trouble us much,” Nath said. “Most of the players in our team are young and they are also not tall. But they have team spirit and skills. Height does not matter if we are skilled enough,” said Nath.

Meanwhile, APF finished third in both sections. They beat Western Region 25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 29-31, 15-6 in men’s section and saw off Western Tops 25-21, 25-14, 25-12 in women’s category.

Champions Help Nepal and New Diamond earned Rs 150,000 each, while runners-up TAC and NPC got Rs 70,000 each. Likewise, third-placed teams APF received Rs 50,000 apiece. Help Nepal’s Subham Chaudhary and New Diamond’s Pratibha Mali were adjudged the best players and received Rs 15,000 each. Narendra Giri and Man Bahadur Shrestha of TAC won the best spiker and server awards respectively, while Bikash Chaudhary, Subhe Singh and Mohan Singh of Help Nepal bagged the best setter, blocker and defense awards respectively in men’s category.

Likewise, Kripa Adhikari and Salina Shrestha of New Diamond were named the best setter and defender respectively in women’s section, while Kopila Upreti of NPC received the best spiker’s award and Aruna Shahi of Western Tops was adjudged the best server. All the best individuals received Rs 5,000 each.