Kathmandu, November 14
Nepal won the historic gold medal in the women’s volleyball when the national team defeated Maldives 3-0 in the final of the AVC Asian Central Zone Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Mirpur, Bangladesh yesterday.
Nepal — who did not drop a single set throughout the tournament — recorded a 25-13, 25-12, 25-8 victory over Maldives in the final match played at the Shaheed Suhrawardi Indoor Stadium.
Nepal were 4-7 down in the first set before they regrouped and added 12 straight points on their way to winning it with ease. Nepal, who finished the tournament as an unbeaten team, had defeated Maldives 3-0 in the group stage match.
In other league round matches, Nepal had recorded identical 3-0 victories over Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh. After the round robin league, top two sides advanced to the final, while next two teams, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh made it to the third-place playoff. Kyrgyzstan finished third with a 3-0 victory.
The gold medal is first ever by Nepali volleyball team. The women’s team had claimed silver medal in the South Asian Invitational Championship on home soil in 2014, while they have three bronze medals in the South Asian Games. The men’s team has bagged a lone medal, a bronze in the AVC Asian Central Zone Senior men’s Volleyball Championship in the third edition played in Maldives last year.
In individual section, Nepal’s Pratibha Mali was declared the best spiker of the championship. Mali, the key member of the team, had bagged the player-of-the-match award in the league round match against Afghanistan.
The Nepali team will now compete in the 13th South Asian Games slated for December 1-10 in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur. Nepal Volleyball Association appointed Aruna Shahi as the team skipper for the tournament in Bangladesh after regular captain Binita Budhathoki and her deputy Manju Gurung failed to make the cut in second round selection.
A version of this article appears in print on November 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.