Kathmandu, November 15
The national women’s volleyball team members received warm welcome upon their arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport today.
The team bagged the historic gold medal in the AVC Asian Central Zone Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Mirpur, Bangladesh yesterday. Nepal defeated Maldives 3-0 in the final match and they did not drop a single set throughout the tournament.
National Sports Council Vice-president Pitamber Timsina, Member Secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal, former Youth and Sports Minister Daljit Sripaili, President of Nepal Volleyball Association Manoranjan Raman Sharma, Vice-president Ranjan Khadka, General Secretary Jitendra Bahadur Chand among others welcomed the team at the TIA.
NSC Member Secretary Silwal announced the cash reward of Rs 300,000 each to the team members for their historic achievement.
Nepal, led by skipper Aruna Shahi, recorded identical 3-0 victories over Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and Maldives in the league round. Silwal said the NSC would forward the proposal to the government to reward each member of the team.
Shahi was named the national team skipper before heading towards Bangladesh after regular captain Binita Budhathoki and vice-captain Manju Gurung failed to make the cut in the preliminary squad. Pratibha Mali, Saraswoti Chaudhary, Kamala Pun, Reshma Bhandari, Usha Bista, Salina Shrestha, Sunita Khadka, Niruta Thagunna, Punam Chand, Safia Pun and Janaki Bhandari are the other members of the team.
Jagadish Bhatta is the chief coach, while Salina Shrestha and Bharat Yadav are the coaches and Rita Koirala is the team manager. Mali also bagged individual award as she was named the best spiker of the tournament.
Coach Bhatta lauded the players’ overall performance on their way to creating history. “I am very happy as we were able to win first ever gold medal in volleyball,” said Bhatta. “We had gone to Bangladesh with the aim of winning the gold medal and the team succeeded in its mission. All the credit goes to the players as they put up brilliant show throughout the tournament,” he added. “As the team is in good shape, I believe Nepal can win gold medal in South Asian Games as well.”
Skipper Shahi was also equally happy with the achievement. “We played so many tournaments in the past but we were not able to win any title. I feel lucky as the team bagged gold medal in the first tournament under my captaincy,” said Shahi. “We were not very much sure of winning the tournament in the beginning. But as the tournament progressed with our dominance, we started believing in us and were able to keep the momentum going,” she added.
Nepal had never won any title in the past. Apart from three bronze medals in the South Asian Games, the Nepali women’s team had bagged silver medal in the South Asian Invitational Tournament on home soil in 2014.
The men’s team has bagged a lone international medal so far — bronze in the third AVC Asian Central Zone Senior men’s Volleyball Champion-ship in Maldives last year.