Tamil Nadu men, Kerala women win volleyball gold

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Ranchi, Feb 17 (PTI) Tamil Nadu came from behind to beatKerala in men''s volleyball final to clinch the gold medal,while Kerala eves got the better of West Bengal to finish ontop in women''s volleyball competition at the 34th NationalGames at Khelgaon here today.

After losing 19-25 in the first set, Tamil Nadu ladsrallied to win the next three closely-fought sets, taking them25-22, 25-19 and 25-19.

Haryana defeated Uttarakhand 25-20, 25-19, 19-25, 15-25and 15-11 to take the bronze medal.

Women from Kerala, however, made up for the loss in themen''s category by beating West Bengal in straight sets 25-16,25-21, 21-11 to claim the gold medal.

With Arjuna awardee K J Kapil Dev at their disposal,Kerala made a star-studded Tamil Nadu sweat it out for everypoint. Moreover with Libero Kiran Philip doggedly defending,Kapil Dev and K G Raghesh came up with fantastic kills duringtheir first set win for Kerala.

In the second set also, they managed to keep up themomentum but even Tamil Nadu matched their opponents and atone stage the game was tied at 22-22 before Tamil Nadu''sNaveen Raja Jacob John Christopher''s crucial blocks helped theteam seal the set 25-22 in their favour.

"We are unfortunate to lose the match but the better teamwon," 32-year-old Kapil Dev told PTI after his team settledfor a silver.

In women''s section, Kerala''s P J Jomol and MinimolAbraham came good for the team, especially in the second setwhen Bengal was looking dangerous with the set tied at 20-20.

But Kerala hit back with five straight points to wrap it up intheir favour.

"I am very happy with the performance of our players. Ournext goal is to win the senior national women''s volleyball. Weare dreaming of it," Kerala coach S Manoj said after the finalmatch.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh women''s team beat Karnataka25-16, 25-13, 25-16 to take the bronze.

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