Visakhaapattanam, India, December 16, 2019 – Hot favourites Iran and Kazakhstan got their AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Phase 1 – Central Zone campaigns off to winning starts, with the former outclassing Sri Lanka 2-0 and the latter powering past hosts India with the same margin on Monday.
The double-gender tournament, which is being held between December 16 and 18, attracted four men’s and three women’s teams to vie for the top honour and a berth in each gender to test their mettle in the 8-team 2020 AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Finals, where only the eventual winners will qualify for the Tokyo 2020.
The men’s competition featured top seeds Iran, second seeds Kazakhstan, third seeds India and fourth seeds Sri Lanka, while Kazakhstan are top seeds in the women’s event, with Sri Lanka and India awarded second and third seedings respectively.
On Monday, the first day of the three-day tournament, Iran made a superb start with a convincing 2-0 win against Sri Lanka. Bahman Salemiinjehboroun/Arash Vakili, who captured the World Tour 1-star event in Bandar Torkaman, Iran in 2018, gave Iran an initial 1-0 lead as the duo cruised to a convincing 2-0 (21-15 21-15) victory against Sri Lankans Indika Tiron Kankani Achchi/Jayan Sanuja/Pannis Koralange in 40 minutes, while Rahman Raoufi/Abdolhamed Mirzali, winners at home in the 2018 World Tour 1-star event in Babolsar and silver medallists at this year’s Pakbara Open World Tour 1-star event in Satun, Thailand, ended the Sri Lankans’ determined challenge when they beat Ashen Rashmika Jayasinghe Liyanage/Asanka Pradeep Kumara Mrdagedara/Kumara Mrdagedara Lekamlage 2-0 (21-11 25-23) in 40 minutes.
In the other encounter, Kazakhstan proved to be a strong team to be reckoned with in the round-ronin competition following a confident 2-0 win against hosts India. Sergey Bogatu/Dmitry Yakovlev defeated Pralhad Dhawaskar/Aaron Pereira 2-0 (21-16 21-18) and Aleksandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko, winners at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea and bronze medallists at the 2018 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Satun, struggled in their first set to beat Tumpera Naresh/M Ch Rama Krishnam Raju 2-0 (24-22 21-15) to prove Kazakhstan a cut above hosts India.
The first-day losers Sri Lanka and hosts India will challenge against each other on Tuesday, while players from both sides will also be pitted against each other in the women’s event.
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