Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 6 (ANI): The 69th Senior National Volleyball Championship has kick-started at the Biju Patnaik Indoor Stadium in KIIT Deemed to be University here in which for the first time, players from union territory Ladakh are participating in the championships.
Over 1200 volleyball players -- both men and women -- are participating in the tournament slated which started on Friday and will continue till March 11.
Speaking to ANI, Rigzin Lhamo, women captain of Ladakh said, "Our team is participating for the first time. Earlier we were selected in the Jammu and Kashmir team in which the preference was given to the players of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was neglected. This time we have got an opportunity to represent ourselves."Mohammad Javed, captain of Ladakh men's team, said that for the first time after Ladakh was declared a union territory, both the 12 men's and 12 women's teams have participated in the tournament.
"Earlier we used to play with Jammu and Kashmir, so we couldn't get enough chances. For the first time after Ladakh was declared a union territory, both the 12 men's and 12 women's teams have participated in the tournament. This is the first experience for us and we have learned a lot from this. After returning from this place, we will develop our game further and improve our team," he said.
Baqir Ali, coach of the men team from Ladakh, said that an indoor stadium at Ladakh will help them to develop their game further. "There is a talent but there is a lack of exposure and coaching. If we develop these, then the players can represent India."Anil Choudhury, Secretary-General, Volleyball Federation of India (VFI), told ANI that a total of 30 men's teams and 20 women's teams are participating in the tournament.
The selection of the Indian volleyball team for the Asian Championships and other international tournaments will be conducted based on performance in the senior nationals. The selection committee of both men's and women's teams is present for the duration of the tournament.
The championships are being held under the aegis of VFI. In a first for volleyball, Odisha is hosting two consecutive senior nationals as the previous edition was also held here. (ANI)