India shocked two-time African champion Nigeria 17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 26-24 in their opening match of the 2021 FIVB U19 Boys World Championship at Azadi stadium in Tehran, Iran.
Tanish Choudhary (21 points), Aman Kumar (19) and Harshit Giri (12) were India’s best scores while for Nigeria Abdulquadri Jaiyeola (15) and Michael Anari (14) were the best scorers.
The Africans, ranked world No. 9, began promisingly after the first set only to succumb to the Indians.
India with a world ranking of 49 now have six points from two matches as Guatemala withdrew due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Other teams in the Group ‘A’ include hosts Iran (match on August 25) and Poland (on Aug 26), who are world No.14.
Out of 20, only 18 teams are competing in the 17th edition after the Dominican Republic also joined Guatemala as few of their players turned Covid-19 positive. Italy are the reigning champions which they won in Tunis two years ago while hosts Iran (2017 champs), Brazil (2003 champs) and Russia are the contenders. The tournament consists of two pools of four and two pools of five, with the top two from each advancing to the knockout stage.
Indian squad: Sandeep (Rajasthan), Sameer Chaudhary (captain, Delhi), Aman Kumar (Haryana), Harshit Giri (Chamdigarh), Ajay Kumar (Haryana), Tanish Choudhary (Delhi), Joshnoor Dhindsa (Punjab), Jibin Job (Kerala), Dushyant Singh (Rajasthan), Srinath Selvakumar (Tamil Nadu), Dibyam Shahi (Uttar Pradesh), Chikkanna Venu (libero, TN).Head coach: Pritam Singh Chauhan, assistant coach: Praveen Kumar Sharma & Bijoy Babu (assistant coaches)