Kochi: The Kerala women’s team, champions of the 67th Senior National Volleyball Championship held in Chennai recently, was given a warm reception and greeted with gold medals at a felicitation ceremony organised by Malayala Manorama here on Tuesday.
Each member of the squad as well as the supporting staff were awarded the medals. Captain Fathima Ruksana and team members K S Jini, E Aswathi, S Soorya, Anju Balakrishnan, T S Krishna, S Rekha, M Sruthi, N S Saranya, K P Anusree, Jinsi Johnson, Aswathi Raveendran, chief coach Dr C S Sadanandan, assistant coach Abdul Majeed, and manager M Sujatha received the medal.
Malayala Manorama editor Philip Mathew, who gave away the honours, said that his organisation would always be in the front to recognise and honour the achievements of sportspersons from Kerala.
A spirited display
“Win or lose, but we were determined to show our fighting spirit, said captain Ruksana. “It was my sixth nationals. We had gone down to Indian Railways 10 times on the trot in the final. So, all of us were desperate to do that little bit extra in order to be the best this time around,” she said.
Coach C S Sadanandan pointed out that his academic knowledge came in handy in turning a team that had been carrying the second best tag into a team of winners.
Manager M Sujatha, a former captain herself, said she was delighted with the show of her wards. “These young spikers have achieved something that my generation couldn’t. We had come close several times, but could never seal the deal against the mighty Railways,” she said.
Remarkably, 10 members of the state team were players of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). Former international Jaisamma Moothedam, who is also the manager of the KSEB squad, said teamwork and unity were the key elements responsible for Kerala’s success.
Kerala State Volleyball Association president Charly Jacob, secretary Nalakath Basheer, former international and Ernakulam District Volleyball Association president Moideen Naina, Malayala Manorama editorial director Mathews Varghese and sports editor Anil Radhakrishnan also spoke on the occasion.