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Bopanna, Bhambri to feature in PSPB meet

Guwahati, Dec. 18: Several leading Indian internationals will be seen in action in the 32nd Inter-unit Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Tennis tournament to be hosted by Numaligarh Refinery Ltd at the All Assam Tennis Association (AATA) complex here from December 22 to 26.

Some of the leading players include the top-ranked former junior Australian Open champion Yuki Bhambri, Davis cuppers Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan and Olympian Vishnu Vardhan.

The national third-ranked Vinod Sridhar, eighth-ranked Ranjeet Virali Murugesan and 30th-ranked Vijay Kanan are some of the other names that figure in the team of the defending champions Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. About 70 players will participate in the five-day event.

NRL general manager (finance) S.K. Baruah said altogether seven PSPB units — ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation (Assam Oil division), Gas Authority of India Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Ltd, Oil India Ltd and NRL — will participate in the annual event.

“We initially proposed to host the tournament at Kaliyani Club courts in Numaligarh but had to shift it to Guwahati as the club has only two synthetic courts while the remaining two are of clay. We have also bid for next year’s edition and if it is allotted to us, we plan to host it at Jorhat Tennis Club where they have assured us of five synthetic courts next year,” Baruah said.

The Kaliyani Club courts in Numaligarh are maintained and used mostly by NRL, who also sponsor the annual Kaliyani Open Tennis tournament. “The tournament will be held in men’s and veterans’ singles and doubles. A leading tennis official Saikat Roy will be the chief referee. We will also take help of AATA for officials to officiate the matches as well as other logistics,” he added. There will be no women’s event in the tournament.

This is the first time NRL is hosting the tennis tournament. However, it is yet to name its own team.