Dominant through the group stages, F3 ‘A’ were in sizzling form on Tuesday night as they defeated Spinneys in a thrilling semis to book a title-clash against their stablemates, F3, in the 6th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament Volleyball Championship.
Led by their irrepressible young Cuban wing-spiker Yosvany Hernandez, 26, F3 ‘A’ took a close opening set 25-23, but Spinneys fought back to level the scores by taking the second 29-27.
Stung by that reversal, F3 ‘A’ shifted gears and brooked no resistance in the following two sets, winning 25-14, 25-14 to the delight of their boisterous band of supporters.
In the second semi-final, defending champions Surprise, who have struggled with their rhythm in the earlier two matches, looked jaded against their well-drilled opponents, and F3, with their Bahraini libero Mohammed Yaqoub in scorching form, romped to a 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 win to book their place in Thursday’s final.
The two F3 teams had great support from the stands and Hernandez was happy they did not disappoint the fans.
“It was a great atmosphere tonight and we are happy we could win this one for the fans,” said Hernandez. “We were expecting a tough fight from Spinneys and they did turn up with their A game, but thanks to the spirit of our team and the support from the fans, we have reached the final.
“That’s going to be another tough match. There is no point making any predictions – we will just go out there and give our best once again and hopefully that will be good enough.”
Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hasher Al-Maktoum, a board member of UAE Volleyball Federation, was in the stands as well and she was pleased with the quality of the matches and enjoyed the atmosphere on the night.
“The Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament keeps growing from strength to strength,” she said. “Every year, you come back here and you see that every team has strengthened their ranks, picking the best Emirati and international players.
“The teams wait eagerly for the NAS Sports Tournament to start because they love playing in this great atmosphere. The foreign players keep coming back because the tournament enjoys a great reputation. Of course, the prize money is a big incentive as well.”
In the NAS 3×3 Basketball Championship, taking place at the Festival City Mall, Big 3 defeated Ball Above All in the men’s final, while Tribe took the Junior Boys’ title, defeating Alaemid.
Held for the first time, the 3×3 Basketball tournament saw 61 teams, representing 38 different nationalities, take part. There were 28 teams in the men’s competition, 16 in the women’s, 12 in the boy’s and five in the girls.
“Though this was the first time we organised the 3×3 Basketball Championship, we are really happy with the tournament given the number of teams, of different nationalities, that participated,” said Adel Al Bannai, the Chairman of the tournament’s Technical Committee. “We also saw a lot of fans coming to watch the games.
“This 3×3 version of basketball is an ideal community sport and it was open to everyone. That is why we saw a number of retired players come back to take part.”
Organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the 2018 NAS Sports Tournament will see more than 5,000 athletes compete for a total prize-purse of Dh6 million in Dubai, across 11 competitions.
The tournament has also gone international this year with a five-a-side futsal competition taking place in the Egyptian capital Cairo and an eight-team volleyball tournament being held in Amman, Jordan.
Junior Girls: 1-GEMS, 2-Rim Rockers, 3-Jam Warriors
Juniors Boys: 1-Tribe; 2-Alaemid; 3-Istilb
Women: 1-Al Nasr, 2-Sharjah Ladies Club; 3-Al Sharqiyah
Men: 1-Big 3; 2-Ball Above All, 3-UOS
The Challenge is a community-based 5km obstacle course, and you can take part either on your own or as part of a team. There will be an ‘individuals’ night on May 31 and a ‘team’ night on 2 June.
The course is spread out next to the NAS Sports Complex, Nad Al Sheba, and the Challenge is expected to attract over 2000 athletes and visitors over the three days.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the first NAS Night Challenge was held during Ramadan 2017 and saw more than 1,000 participants from over 15 countries across the globe in three different categories.
Participants will have 12 fun and challenging obstacles to cover throughout the 5km race including the Siege, Vine Swing, Warped Wall, Balance Beam, Rope Ladders, Black Hole and The Chimney.
Participants over the age of 16 can choose from the following categories: Elite Male Individual, Elite Female Individual, 5KM Open Individual, Elite Male Team, Elite Female Team, Elite Mixed Team and 5KM Team Individual.
All categories are open to UAE nationals, residents and interested participants from outside the country and all participants are eligible for the podium placings and prizes.
Here’s some other important information you need to know:
+ The 5 KM obstacle course event shall be held on Thursday May 31 (Individuals) 21:45 – 02:00 and Saturday June 2 (Teams) 21:45 – 02:00.
+ This will be a mixed gender event.
+ The minimum age of participation is 16 years old. If you are aged 16-17 your guardian must sign your waiver and register you for the event.
+ Each participant is permitted to participate in both the individual and the team category if they chose to do so.
+ If a participant, either as an individual or in a team, chooses to skip an obstacle for any reason, a time penalty will be added to the individual or entire team.
What: NAS Night Challenge
Where: Next to NAS Sports Complex
When: May 31 and June 2
Winners over defending champions Surprise on the opening day, F3 ‘A’ booked their place in the semi-final of the 6th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament’s volleyball competition with a straight sets win over Raptor on Saturday night.
Led by their Cuban star Yosvany Hernandez, who was in scorching form and scored a match-high 26 points, F3 ‘A’ took the opening two sets 25-19, 25-17 before fighting back from 18-23 in the third to prevail 35-33 in a nail-biting finish.
Their win means Surprise and Raptor will now battle for the second semi-final spot in Group A.
“It is really nice to finish the group engagements with two wins from two matches,” said Hernandez.
“We had to fight to get both those wins, and this will certainly help us in the knockout stages. It shows the character of the team – we never give up and fight as a unit, which is the most important thing.
“Going into the knockout stages with two wins also means that we have the momentum with us, and we hope to use this momentum to take us all the way. We have got two more matches and we have to make sure we continue in the same way and not let our guard down.”
In Group B, F3 and Spinneys are through to the knockout stages of the tournament, but the group topper will be decided when they face-off in the final match of the group stages. Leader Sport, the third team in the group, finished their campaign without a point following their loss to Spinneys on Saturday night.
Defeated by F3 in their opening match, Leader Sport seemed cruising towards victory after taking the opening two sets, but Spinneys fought back to win 21-25, 21-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-12, bringing Leader Sport’s campaign to an early end.
Meanwhile, the 3×3 Basketball competition got underway at Dubai Festival City Mall, with 61 teams, representing 38 different nationalities, in action. There are 28 teams taking part in the men’s section, 16 in the women’s, 12 in the boy’s competition and five in the girls.
“This 3×3 Basketball is a very simple game, easy to play and very popular, as you can see from the number of teams taking part,” said Maitha Bin Dhawi, a member of the Board of Directors of the UAE Women’s Basketball Committee.
“So we are really pleased to see 3×3 Basketball becoming a part of the NAS Sports Tournament. We are also happy to see so many women and girls taking part, and hopefully this tournament will lead to even more people taking up this sport.”
In the NAS Padel competition, the pair of Mohammed Mansouri and Guillermo Villafane defeated Sachin Talwar and Dean Macfarlane 6-4, 6-1, while Sheikh Saeed Hasher Al Maktoum and Omar Sharif Al Marzooqi lost 6-1, 6-2 to Emilio Missas and Carlos Luna. In the team competition, Por5 Team defeated Sky Team 6-1, 6-0.