India underlined their supremacy over the Central Asian Volleyball Association (CAVA) Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup after 3-0 demolition of Kazakhstan in the final showdown at the National Sports Council Covered Hall in Kathmandu, Nepal on Sunday.
The exceptional 25-15, 25-22, 25-18 victory handed India the eventual title with remarkable unbeaten record. They did not drop a match to their respective rivals en route to winning the Sunday’s clash and the prestigious title.
India got off to a brilliant start to power past Bangladesh 3-0 in their opening match of the pool round-robin preliminaries on May 22 and repeated the similar feat with another 3-0 win against Kyrgyzstan the following day. They pulled off dramatic 3-1 triumph over hosts Nepal in their last preliminary match on May 24 to capture the top spot in Pool A.
The Indians continued their unbeaten run in the tournament after breezing past Uzbekistan 3-0 in the cross semifinals on May 26 before demolishing Kazakhstan 3-0 in the final clash. The Kazakh outfits also did not lose a match to their opponents en route to the Sunday’s showdown on Sunday.
Against formidable Kazakhstan, India, which picked up silver at the last year’s AVC Women’s Challenge Cup in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, remained strong offensively with the likes of Nirmal, Soorya and Anushree. The Kazakh side were spearheaded by Sitkazinova and Onerbekkyzy.
In the first set, the well-established Indians made a strong start to take the comfortable set 25-15. Holding 1-0 advantage, the Indians played confidently with consistency and resilience in the second set. Kazakhstan put up a great fight, but still found the Indians too hot to handle. With Nirmal and Soorya firing powerful attacks, India clinched the hard-fought second set 25-22.
Kazakhstan tried hard for a comeback, but the Indians performed impressively to shatter the rivals’ high hopes with the 25-18 win in the third set.
Soorya chipped in with 13 points for India, while Anushree and Nirmal kept good company to add 12 and 10 points respectively. Sitkazinova scored a match-high 17 points on the Kazakhstan’s losing effort.
In the third-place playoff clash earlier, hosts Nepal, which captured the AVC Central Zone Championship twice in 2019 and 2021, recovered from the first-set loss 20-25 to win three sets in a row 25-16, 25-15, 25-13 for the eventual 3-1 victory against Uzbekistan and bronze medal.
Saraswoti contributed 23 points for Nepal, with Usha adding crucial 17 points. Ezozakhon led Uzbekistan with 11 points.
Minister of Youth and Sports Mr Dig Bahadur Limbu and Mr Tanka Lal Ghising, Member Secretary of the Nepal National Sports Council jointly presided over the awards presentation and closing ceremony on Sunday.
Also in attendance were CAVA President, Mr Jitendra Bahadur Chand, President of Nepal Volleyball Association, Mr Peter Sprengher, President of Netherlands Volleyball Federation, Mr Durja Kumar Rai, former international volleyball player and Mr Deepak Bista, the Nepalese taekwondo former player and practitioner who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics and one of the most popular sportsperson in Nepal.
Mr Hitesh Malhotra from the FIVB Technical and Development Department representing the world’s governing body to witness the CAVA tournament was also attending the ceremony to present medals to teams.
India were crowned champions in the CAVA Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup, while Kazakhstan and hosts Nepal picked up silver and bronze medals respectively. Uzbekistan finished fourth in the tournament.
It was also confirmed that Nepal Volleyball Association will be hosting the inaugural CAVA Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in December 2023, the first ever Club Championship in the history of Central Asian Volleyball Association.
Best Outside Hitters
- Bota Uatayeva (No. 9) Kazakhstan
- K.P. Anushree (No. 13) India
Best Middle Blockers
- Soorya S. (No. 6) India
- Toshkenboyeva Khodisakhon (No. 3) Uzbekistan
Best Opposite Player
Zarina Sitkazinova (No. 7) Kazakhstan
Salina Shrestha (No. 18) Nepal
K.S. Jini (No. 7) India
Most Valuable Player
Nirmal (No. 10) India
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