Pokhara, Nepal, December 5, 2019 – In-form Pakistan enjoyed a field day at the 13th South Asian Games beach volleyball competition on the banks of Fewa Lake here, with their men’s teams making a clean sweep of all matches contested on the very first day of the double-gender event on Thursday.
Earlier, Rajesh Kumar Gurung, Board member of National Sports Council (NSC), a government authentic sports organisation of Nepal, and Mr Manoranjan Raman Sharma, President of Nepal Volleyball Association, jointly presided over the Thursday’s opening ceremony.
Beach volleyball made its South Asian Games debut at the 13th edition in Pokhara, Nepal on Thursday. A total of 20 teams from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and hosts Nepal (each country fielded two teams apiece in men’s and women’s events) tested their mettle in the competition, vying for two gold medals up for grabs in this biennial multi-sport event.
In the men’s competition, all participating teams were divided into two pools of five teams apiece to compete in the pool round-robin preliminaries. After completion of the pool plays, top four teams will advance to the quarter-finals, with Pool A winners taking on Pool B fourth place and Pool A second place playing Pool B third place.
Sri Lanka 2’s Indika Tiron/Jayan Sanuja, Nepal 1’s Man Bahadur/Dil Bahadur Sunar, Bangladesh 1’s Sheikh Md Sany/Haider Mohammad Imran, Maldives 2’s Abdulla Zayaan/Ahmed Mohammad and Pakistan 1’s Khan Zasrnab/Khan Afaq are in Pool A, with Pool B featuring Sri Lanka 1’s Asanka Pradeep/Ashen Kumara, Nepal 2’s Raju B.K./Sanju Shah, Bangladesh 2’s Hossain Md Monir/Ali Md Shahjahan, Maldives 1’s Adam Naseem/Mohammad Ali and Pakistan 2’s Razzaq Muhammad/Waseen Muhammad.
Pakistan got their South Asian Games campaign off to a brilliant start on Thursday with their both men’s teams pulling off scintillating wins against Nepal. Pakistan 1’s Zasrnab/Afaq survived a scare from Bahadur/Bahadur Sunar to beat the Nepal 1’s side 2-1 (23-25 23-21 15-12) in exhausting 67 minutes. The Pakistani tandem went on their good run in the afternoon session after a 2-0 (21-19 21-16) rout of Bangladesh 1’s Md Sany/Mohammad Imran.
Pakistan 2’s Razzaq Muhammad/Waseen Muhammad also made their mark with a convincing 2-0 (21-14 21-15) win against Nepal 2’s Raju B.K./Sanju Shah. The Pakistani duo repeated the feat in the afternoon session, struggling to beat Bangladesh 2’s Hossain Md Monir/Ali Md Shahjahan in hard-fought three-setter 18-21 21-18 15-10.
Sri Lanka proved their talents on the opening day, with Indika Tiron/Jayan Sanuja brushing off Nepal 1’s Man Bahadur/Dil Bahadur Sunar 21-16 21-18 and Asanka Pradeep/Ashen Kumara turning a dangerous duo to be reckoned with in the tournament following a 2-0 (21-9 21-11) demolition of Nepal 2’s Raju B.K./Sanju Shah.
Meanwhile, only three countries took part in the women’s category. Maldives 2’s Aminath Rashidha/Ibrahim Shafna, Nepal 1’s Binita Budhathoki/Nebika Chaudhary and Sri Lanka 2’s Gedera Deepika/Madushani Weerasinghe are in Pool A, while Pool B comprised Maldives 1’s Moosa Fathimath Zeeniya/Aminath Rudhaina, Nepal 2’s Kopila Upreti/Manisha Chaudhary and Sri Lanka 1’s Tharuka Lakshini/Dinesha Prasadani.
All participating teams will compete in the pool round-robin preliminaries and at the end of the pool plays, only top two teams from each pool will make it to the cross semi-finals.
Sri Lanka made a solid start in the tournament on Thursday, with both teams tasting their first wins. Lakshini/Prasadani thrashed Nepal 2’s Upreti/Manisha Chaudhary 21-11 21-13, while team-mates Deepika/Weerasinghe overcame a strong challenge from Budhathoki/Nebika Chaudhary to beat the Nepal 1’s duo in thrilling three sets 21-16 12-21 15-11.
The pool round-robin preliminaries of the four-day beach volleyball competition in the 13th South Asian Games continue on Friday in both men’s and women’s events.
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