Kozhikode, Feb 20 (PTI) The eight day 66th senior national volleyball championship for men and women, organised by the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI), was inaugurated here by the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan through video conferencing.

As many as 28 teams in the men’s category and 26 in the women’s section from across the country, will vie for the honour of the tournament to be played at V K Krishna Menon stadium and Calicut Trades Centre Indoor stadium between February 21 and 28.

The matches will be held on league cum knockout basis and all the teams will play the preliminary league matches.

Teams coming in the first three places in group ‘A’ and ‘B’ will be eligible for the knockout stage while those teams finishing last will have to face the winners of group ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ in the play off matches.

Winners of these matches will join the other six teams to play in the knockout stage.

The participating teams are placed in six groups, both in men and women divisions.

In the men’s section, hosts Kerala is placed along with Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan in group “A”, while in group “B” Tamil Nadu will play against Railways, Services and Himachal Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura and Gujarat are grouped together in “C”, and Odisha, Haryana, Maharastra, Assam and Pondicherry will form part of group “D”.

Five teams-Delhi, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Chattisgarh will fight it out in group “E”.

Telangana, Uttarkhand, Jharkhand, Goa and West Bengal will play in group “F” of men’s category.

In women’s division, Indian Railways, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are placed in group “A” while Kerala will face Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana in group “B”.

Odisha, Uttarkhand, Gujarat and Mizoram are placed together in group “C” and Punjab, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Bihar will fight for the next stage in group “D”.

Group “E” will have Chandigarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Tripura while Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir will play in group “F” to enter the next round.

On the inaugural day matches tomorrow, Gujarat will take on Madhya Pradesh in group ‘C’ and Haryana will play against Assam in Group ‘D’ while in group ‘E’ Karnataka will face Bihar in the men’s section.

In the women’s category Himachal Pradesh plays against Chattisgarh (group ‘D’).

Quarterfinal matches will be held on February 25 and semifinals on February 26 and 27.

Finals and matches for the 3rd and 4th places will be on February 28.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.