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Mixed fortunes for hosts at the AVC Central Zonal Continental Cup

Players from Sri Lanka and India fight over the net
Negombo, Sri Lanka, January 21, 2012 – Hosts Sri Lanka enjoyed mixed fortunes on the first day of the AVC Central Zonal tournament of the Beach Volleyball Continental Cup on Saturday. Their women’s team downed Maldives 4-0 while their men’s side lost four straight to Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the Kazakhstan women’s team and Iran’s men’s team claimed their first victories over their Indian counterparts.

The men's and women's teams from India, Kazakhstan, Iran, Maldives and Sri Lanka are fighting for the three tickets of the AVC Central Zone to the finals of the Asian Continental Cup and, ultimately, a spot in the Olympic Games.

In the men’s competition, 2011 AVC Beach Volleyball Championships gold medallist Parviz Farrokhi, paired with Aghamohammad Salagh, helped Iran trounce India 4-0. The Iranian pair took only 24 minutes to hammer R. Madhusudhanan/ C.Rajkumar 2-0 (21-7, 21-14) and then continued their excellent form to beat S. Balaganesh /G. Prabhakaran 21-16, 21-8.

In the other games, Iran did not give any chances to their rivals, pulling off easy wins over the Indians, with Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi defeating S. Balaganesh /G. Prabhakaran 21-11, 21-13 and R. Madhusudhanan/ C.Rajkumar 21-14, 21-13.

Iran was set to play Kazakhstan for the top spot on January 22. Kazakhstan led by Alexey Sidorenko/Alexandr Dyachenko, bronze medal winner at the Asian Beach Volleyball Championship, claimed a 4-0 win over hosts Sri Lanka. Alexey Kuleshov/ Dmitriy Yakovlev, the fifth-place finisher at the Asian Championship, pounded Sri Lanka’s Mahesh Perera/Wasantha Rathnapala 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) before going up against Sri Lanka’s Pubudu Ekanayake/ Sampath Peiris, who they beat in three sets (21-15, 19-21, 15-13).

Kazakhstan’s Alexey Sidorenko/ Alexandr Dyachenko did not let their teammates down as they overwhelmed Pubudu Ekanayake/ Sampath Peiris 21-9, 21-9 in the second match. The Kazakh duo continued their remarkable run by taming Mahesh Perera/ Wasantha Rathnapala 21-11, 21-16 to give Kazakhstan a convincing 4-0 win.

In the women’s section, Sri Lanka’s top pair of T. Gunasinghe/ Geethika Gunawardana were in awesome form as they annihilated Maldives 2 (Azza/Sama) 21-9, 21-5 to put the host side in front 1-0. The home team’s second duo of S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini followed up with another straight-sets win over Agilahamid/ Fathimath Zeenia (21-2, 21-3). T. Gunasinghe/ Geethika Gunawardana and S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini clinched both the last two matches in straight sets, completing a 4-0 victory.

The first duo of Irina Tsimbalova/ Tatyana Mashkova from Kazakhstan took 22 minutes to beat India’s V. Pavithra/ Prakasan Premavathi 2-0 (21-6, 21-7) in the first match. In the second encounter against first pair from India R. Ragana/ C.K. Jeeshma, Kazakhstan’s No.1 duo showed excellent spiking and intimidated their opponents from India, winning 2-0 (21-7, 21-6).

The other Kazakhstan duo of Bakhtygul Samalikova/ Lyubov Bogatu defeated rivals Rajasekar Ragana/ C.K.Jeeshma 21-14, 21-8 in 17 minutes and  V. Pavithra/ P.Premavathi 21-10, 21-8 in 23 minutes.

Men’s results:
Sri Lanka  0,  Kazakhstan  4
Mahesh Perera/Wasantha Rathnapala vs. Alexey Kuleshov/Dmitriy Yakovlev 0-2 (17-21, 17-21)
Pubudu Ekanayake/Sampath Peiris vs. Alexey Sidorenko/Alexandr Dyachenko 0-2 (9-21, 9-21)
Mahesh Perera/Wasantha Rathnapala vs. Alexey Sidorenko/Alexandr Dyachenko 0-2 (11-21, 16-21)
Pubudu Ekanayake/Sampath Peiris vs. Alexey Kuleshov/Dmitriy Yakovlev 1-2 (15-21, 21-19, 13-15)

Iran 4, India  0
Parviz. Farrokhi/ Agh Mohammad Salagh bt R. Madhusudhanan/ C.Rajkumar 2-0 (21-7, 21-14)
Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi bt S.Balaganesh /G. Prabhakaran 2-0 (21-11, 21-13)
Parviz. Farrokhi/ Agh Mohammad Salagh bt S.Balaganesh /G. Prabhakaran 2-0 (21-16, 21-8)
Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi bt R. Madhusudhanan/ C.Rajkumar 2-0 (21-14, 21-13)

Women’s results:
Sri Lanka 4, Maldives  0  
T. Gunasinghe/Geethika Gunawardana vs. Azza/Sama 2-0 (21-9, 21-5)
S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini vs. AGILAHamid/Fathimath Zeenia 2-0 (21-2, 21-3)
T. Gunasinghe/Geethika Gunawardana vs AGILAHamid/Fathimath Zeenia 2-0 (21-9, 21-11)
S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini vs Azza/Sama 2-0 (21-7, 21-7)

Kazakhstan 4, India 0
Irina Tsimbalova/Tatyana Mashkova vs. V. Pavithra/ Prakasan Premavathi  2-0 (21-6, 21-7)
Bakhtygul Samalikova/Lyubov Bogatu vs. Rajasekar Ragana/ C.K.Jeeshma 2-0 (21-14, 21-8)  
Irina Tsimbalova/Tatyana Mashkova vs. R. Ragana/ C.K.Jeeshma 2-0 (21-7, 21-6)
Bakhtygul Samalikova/Lyubov Bogatu vs. V. Pavithra/ P.Premavathi 2-0 (21-10, 21-8)

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