Railways look to retain titles

State eves not to take part

 Indian Railways will look to retain their titles in the men’s and women’s sections when the 60th Senior National Super League kabaddi championships get underway at the Sir M Vishweshwaraiah stadium here on Thursday.

The four-day meet will have 32 teams (16 men and 16 women) competing from four zones for top honours. The tournament will be played on a league-cum-knockout basis.

“We will be organising it like a festival as the sport is popular here and we are expecting big crowds. We have spent about Rs 45-50 lakhs on conducting the event and we are very excited,’’ PM Somashekar, the organising secretary, said. 

Karnataka are two-time champions in the men’s section — in 1971 and 1973 — and would look to put up a good performance at home. “We are confident they will qualify for the knockout stage and from there anything is possible,’’ Somashekar said, looking forward to a good tournament. Jeeva Kumar is the captain of the Karnataka squad who will be doing duty here. Assured of solid support from the fans, the State team, coached by Srinivasa Raju,  will be going all out in an effort to regain the title.

Karnataka, however, won’t be taking part in the women’s event, which is a dampener for the fans. The State eves had emerged champions in South Zone but with six of their players deciding to compete in the All-India inter-university meet in Chennai, it was decided not to field a team.

The teams: Men: Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Services, Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad, Karnataka, Indian Railways, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, BSNL, Vidarbha.

Women: Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Indian Railways, Manipur, Odisha, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh.

Karnataka squad (Men): Jeeva Kumar (capt), Kirthi Gowda, Prashant Rai, Dileep, Shabbir, Kumararajendra, SG Anand, SN Anil, SP Anand, Kiran, Ravinandan, Manjunath, Coach: Srinivasa Raju, Manager: Linge Gowda.

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