Nepal make it to maiden final

Kathmandu, November 30

Nepal national women’s volleyball team created history after it advanced to the final of the volleyball tournament under the 13th South Asian Games here at the NSC covered hall today.

Nepal defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 in the second semi-final match of the tournament and set final date with India. Nepal made a positive start winning the first set 25-14 before extending the lead to 2-0 with a 25-18 victory in the second set. The home team then took the third set 25- 21 to seal the victory.

Nepal had never made it beyond semi-finals in the SA Games history and they have three bronze medals under their belt. Nepal finished third in the eighth SAF Games in Kathmandu in 1999, 10th SA Games in Colombo in 2006 and 12th edition in Guwahati three years ago.

The Nepal national team showed signs of drastic improvement when it bagged first-ever gold medal in the AVC Asian Central Zone Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Bangladesh earlier this month.

Nepal had made it to the semi-finals as Group A runners-up behind India, while Sri Lanka advanced to the last four as Group B winners. India, earlier, thumped Maldives 3-0 to make it to the final. In their previous meeting in the group stage two days ago, India registered a 3-0 victory over Nepal.

The third-place playoff match between Sri Lanka and Maldives is slate for Monday, while the final is on December 3.

Nepal men’s team faced defeats against Bangladesh and India in Group A matches12-1 and crashed out of the group stage.

Nepal skipper Aruna Shahi lauded her team members for putting up a brave performance.

“Sri Lanka is a strong side and winning against them is great, especially when the victory sent us to the final,” said Shahi. “And it proves that the standard of our game has gone up.”

Shahi said the team would now throw everything for gold medal. “We have already achieved the biggest success, a historic silver medal. So we will not have any pressure in the final,” she added.

Coach Jagadish Bhatta said the achievement was the result of hard works done by the team for the last five months. “The girls created history and I am so much happy for the team,” he said. “This team has improved a lot in recent time and I believe they can win gold medal,” added Bhatta, who coached the team to maiden gold medal finish in Bangladesh earlier this month.