Surprise will meet Dubai 2021 in the final of the NAS Volleyball Championships, both going through after prevailing in thrilling five-setters in the semi-finals.
Surprise, the 2017 champions, fought back from 1-2 down to defeat Bin Thani 16-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 15-8, with Moroccan professional Mohammed Al Hachdadi topping the points chart for them with 29 points, while Cuban pro Bisset Yordan scored 18. Across the net, Algerian pro Mohammed Sheikhi was in great form for Bin Thani, scoring 27 points.
In the second semi-final, Dubai 2021, one half of a franchise that has won the title three times including last year, stopped a battling Fohood Zabeel 25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 20-25, 15-13. Hernandez Ramos was the lead performer for Dubai 2021 on the night with 26 points, alongside Ahmed Abdulrahman (17 points) and Mubarak Sultan (13 points), while Czech Republic’s David Kinect (22 points) and Frenchman Rossard Thibault (21 points) led the Fohood Zabeel fightback.
“It was a thrilling game, a great advertisement for volleyball,” said Khamis Esmaeel, the Surprise team owner. “I am really with how our players refuse to give up and fought back to win the last two sets.
“Surprise deserve to be in the final for the way they have played right through the tournament, and this win will give their confidence a huge boost because Bin Thani played really well. Now, we just need to show the same kind of resolve in the final and remain focused.”
In the NAS Cricket tournament, a fine allround performance from D Chathura led Velocity Cricket Club to a 7-run win over The Cricketers Club.
Walking in to bat with Velocity three down for 12 in the second over, Chathura steadied the innings with a responsible 15-ball 25 (2x4s, 1×6), which set the stage for Shadab Ahmed to come in later and blast a 13-ball 30 (2x4s, 3x6s).
Chasing 118 for a win, The Cricketers Club, who had lost to DP World by 34 runs in their opening Pool 4 match, made an exhilarating start with 47 runs from the first three overs. But Chathura took three wickets for six runs in the fourth over to turn the tide. He took a fourth wicket in his second over and The Cricketers Club failed to recover from those blows, finishing on 110 for 8.
Chathura, who also took a catch and affected a run-out, finished with four wickets for 21 and his splendid allround performance earned him the man of the match award.
In the other match of the night, host Wombats Cricket Club defeated DCAS by 5 wickets to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
Beaten by MGM Cricket Club Sharjah in their opening Pool 5 match, Wombats first restricted DCAS to 89 for 6 in their 10 overs and then crossed the target with five wickets and four balls to spare. They did look in a spot of bother after losing their top three for 19 and four for 34, but an unbeaten 19-ball 40 (1×4, 4x6s) from Haroon Ghaus and his 44-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Aziz Ansari (23: 22b, 2x4s) took them across the line.
Gallo and Apraiz triumph
In the NAS Padel Championship, Carolina Gallo and Marta Apraiz defeated Retha Mcfarlane and Bernadette Helena 6-1, 6-3 to win the Women’s Open title. In the third-place playoff, sisters Hafsah Sani and Khadeejah Sani beat Barbara Espejo and Gabriela Martinas 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Khadeejah, 30, and Hafsa, 29, who moved to Dubai from Michigan a few years ago, got attracted to padel tennis during a visit to the NAS Sports Tournament two years ago and the sisters were delighted with the progress they have made since.
“We were attracted by the speed of the game and its impact on physical fitness,” said Hafsa. “Padel tennis is a great sport to play to stay physically fit, and it is a lot of fun as well.
“This is our first official championship and to finish fourth is a great achievement for us. We lost to two professional players in the semis, but had some memorable wins, and now we are looking forward to the next year. Finishing third this year will be a great motivation for us to come back to the NAS Sports Tournament next year and try to do better.”
SEMI-FINAL: Surprise beat Bin Thani 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 15-8); Dubai 2021 beat Fohood Zabeel 3-2 (25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 20-25, 15-13).
Velocity Cricket Club 117 for 7 (D Chathura 25, S Ahmed 30; NR Rashid 3-14) vs The Cricketers Club 110 for 8 (MW Waseem 42; D Chathura 4-21, IR Hussain 2-11). Vlocity win by 7 runs. Man of the Match: D Chathura.
DCAS 89 for 6 (R Kumar 25; A Nini 3-4) vs Wombats Cricket Club 93 for 5 in 9.2 overs (AA Ansari 23, HG Ghaus n.o. 40; J Joseph 2-22, M Abdullakutty 2-8). Wombats win by 5 wickets. Man of the Match: HG Ghaus.
Women’s Epee International Semi-final: Nardine Botrous (Egypt) beat Salwa Aly (Egypt) 15-11; Kelly Boone (Netherlands) beat Sherwet Aly (Egypt) 14-13.
Men’s Epee Local Semi-final: Mohammed Al Maazmi (Sharjah Club) beat Hamad Al Jallaf (Baniyas) 15-14; Saif Ahmad (Dubai Fencing Centre) beat Khalifa Al Zarooni (Baniyas) 13-10.
Men’s Open: Jose Juan Matea and German Zunica beat Biel Relat Ballester and Carlos Luna 6-2, 6-3.
UAE Nationals: Mohammed Al Nuaimi and Ali Sharif Al Marzouqi beat Mohammed Al Marri and Eisa Al Marzooqi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Women’s Open Final: Carolina Gallo and Marta Apraiz beat Retha Mcfarlane and Bernadette Helena 6-1, 6-3. Third-Place: Hafsah Sani and Khadeejah Sani beat Barbara Espejo and Gabriela Martinas 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Teams: Mondia beat Padel Pro 6-1, 6-0; Mondia beat Padel Pro 6-1, 6-1.
NAS 3X3 BASKETBALL
Girl’s Junior Semi-final: Brooklyn Nets beat Hoopers 3-2; The Quattro Ballers beat Jam 6-4.
Women’s Semi-final: And One beat Chevrolet 15-7; Sharjah Women Team A beat SWS-Eastern Team A 14-6.
Moroccan Anouar El Ghouz and Betlhem Belayneh of Ethiopia won the men’s and women’s titles respectively in the 10km professional category of the NAS Running Challenge, which saw more than 1,600 runners of different age and nationalities take part.
El Ghouz, who works for Dubai Police, topped the charts in the men’s professional category of the 10km race with a time of 30:54, finishing ahead of Ahmed Tamri (31:00) and Samir Jouaher (31:43). Belayneh was fastest in the 10km women’s professional category, clocking 36:05 to finish ahead of Belainesh Gurmu (37:03) and Rahma Ali (39:50).
In the 10km race for UAE Nationals, Mubarak Rashid was first to cross the line in a time of 32:35, followed by Obaid Al Nuaeimi (32:56) and Khalifa Al Nuaeimi (33:44).
Morocco’s Soufiane Dardour won the 5km Open Men race in a time of 12:31, with Ethiopia’s Yassin Ebba (12:43) finishing second and Rachid Draoua (12:44), also of Morocco, finishing third.
“This is the first time I am participating in the Nad Al Sheba Running Challenge, and it was really difficult race because of the weather and the quality of the runners,” said Dardour. “There were some really good runners from Kenya and Uganda in the race, so it is really pleasing for me to finish ahead of them. I am definitely looking forward to coming back next year to defend my title.”
Ten-years-old Sheikha Al Najjar was the youngest participant in the NAS Running Challenge, competing in the 5km race. She had taken part last year as well, in the 10km race alongside her father, and, impressively, finished the race.
“I run 3km three times a week,” said Al Najjar, who is part of Ajman club’s Jiu-Jitsu team. “This year, I decided against taking part in the 10km race on the advice of a Moroccan runner last year. She asked me to take part in the 5km race instead because it is better suited to my age.
“So I asked my father to register me to run alongside him in the 5km race. I managed to complete the distance without any problems and I am really pleased with that.”
Noor Bank keep hopes alive
In the NAS Cricket tournament, Noor Bank and Mideast Metals kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage with emphatic wins on Saturday night.
Beaten by Abu Dhabi Tigers in their first match, Noor Bank bounced back to defeat Chalhoub Group by 51 runs and will now await the result of the final Pool 2 match between the Tigers and Chalhoub.
Mideast Metals, who had lost to Hadaf Sporting RAK in their opening match, defeated Wolfpack Cricket Club by 47 runs to earn a bonus point. Their fate, however, will depend on the result of the final Pool 3 match between Hadaf and Wolfpack.
There are 24 eight teams taking part in the tournament. They have been divided into eight group of three each, and the top team from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. Dubai Exiles RFC already confirmed their place in the last eight from Pool 1 with two wins from two matches.
Futsal for People with Hearing Disabilities
The NAS Futsal Championship for People with Hearing Disabilities started on Saturday at UAE Football Association in Al Khawaneej with four teams – Dubai A, Dubai B, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain – in the fray.
In the first match, Dubai A prevailed 4-3 over Al Ain in a keenly-contested match with Omani Abdulrahman Al Khudri scoring twice for the winners, and Bahrain’s Akbar Salman and Waleed Khalid once each. Oman’s Abdullah Mubarak scored two for Al Ain and Abdulrahman Abdo a third.
In the second match, Abu Dhabi defeated Dubai B 7-0, with Salem Mohammed Al Hajri scoring three goals, Anas Abdulhadi Al Harthy two, and Hamdan Saeed Hajri and Mohammed Mubarak Al Sibai one each.
NAS RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIP
10km Open Men: 1-Anouar El Ghouz 30:54, 2-Ahmed Tamri 31:00, 3-Samir Jouaher 31:43
10km Open Women: 1-Betlhem Belayneh 36:05, 2-Belainesh Gurmu 37:03, 3-Rahma Ali 39:50
10km UAE Nationals: 1-Mubarak Rashid 32:35, 2-Obaid Al Nuaeimi 32:56, 3-Khalifa Al Nuaeimi 33:44
5km Open Men: 1-Soufiane Dardour 12:31, 2-Yassin Ebba 12:43, 3-Rachid Draoua 12:44
5km Open Women: 1-Chloe Tighe 14:15, 2-Anne Mari Hyrylainen 14:51, 3-Meryl Cooper 16:21
5km UAE National Men: 1-Masood Falaknaz 14:14, 2-Saleh Al Suwaidi 14:17, 3-Ayoob Mohammed 14:52
5km UAE National Women: 1-Shahad Jassem 18:50, 2-Sarah Faraidooni 19:59, 3-Marwa Alamoodi 21:02
Noor Bank 132 for 6 (A Shah 35, S Jawaid 38; F Gafoor 2-17, A Rashid 2-9) vs Chalhoub Group 81 for 4 (F Ghafoor 20; A Iqbal 2-12). Noor Bank win by 51 runs.
Mideast Metals 121 for 6 (MZ Mohammed n.o. 38; M Bukhari 2-16, S Anees 2-26) vs Wolfpack Cricket Club 74 for 7 (H Altaf 20; A Maqsood 2-12, K Khwaja 2-15). Mideast Metals win by 47 runs.
Men’s Foil International Semifinal: Alaaeldin Aboelkasem (Egypt) beat Abdulaziz Al Shatti (Kuwait) 15-5; Daniel Giacon (Netherlands) beat Abdelrahman Haffour (Egypyt) 15-5.
Bigger and better with two new sports to boast, the seventh edition of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament is underway.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council 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 NAS Sports Tournament is the biggest event of its kind in terms of participation and prize money, and has been held every year in the Holy Month of Ramadan since 2013.
The Tournament has seen more than 22,000 athletes take part over the past six seasons, including amateurs and international legends like Zinedine Zidane and Falcao, and even Ambassadors and Consul Generals of different countries.
The seventh season of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, being held under the slogan ‘Limitless Abilities’, will see more than 6,500 participants in action over the coming 18 days in 13 different events: Futsal, Volleyball, Padel, Fencing, Wheelchair Basketball, Futsal for People with Hearing Disabilities, NAS Night Challenge, the 5km and 10km Run, 75km Cycle Race, 3×3 Basketball, Jiu-Jitsu, Cricket and Snowboarding. There is a prize purse of AED 6 million on offer for them.
“The NAS Sports Tournament was launched seven years ago, under the guidance and patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the objective of promoting sport and attracting participants from the many different segments of our society,” said Salah Amin, Chairman of the Tournament’s Executive Committee.
“The Tournament has grown every year since to become one of the most important community sports initiative, embracing the many different segments of our diverse society. This year, as we celebrate the Year of Tolerance, we have expanded to 13 events and included cricket and snowboarding for the first time.
“We have seen more than 22,000 participants take part in the past six years of the NAS Sports Tournament, including 5,000 in 2018. This year, we will be seeing more than 6,500 participants take part. So, we are looking forward to 18 night of thrilling sports action that will keep fans entertained.”
As part of the opening ceremony, and to encourage and promote sports among People of Determination, there will be a Sitting Volleyball exhibition game, featuring players from countries around the region, including Egypt and Kazakhstan.
DEMAND FOR CRICKET
Meanwhile, the NAS Cricket T10 tournament, which is being held at the Wombats Cricket Ground in DP World, Jebel Ali (Gate 7), has been increased to 24 team from 12 following overwhelming demand. The 24 teams have been divided into eight groups of three each, with Emirates NBD Cricket Club, CPD Knight Riders and King Khalid being dawn in Group A, and Noor, AD Tigers and Chalhoub Group in Group B. Mideast Metals, Hadaf Sporting RAK and Wolf Pack CC comprise Group C, while The Cricketers Club, DP World and Velocity Cricket Club are in Group D.
Group E includes Wombats Cricket Club, MGM Cricket Club Sharjah and DCAS, while Titans Cricket Club, Abu Dhabi Cricket Lad and ASR Powered by Meritorious are in Group F. Cool Boys, Hamriya Kings and Rising Star Cricket Club Amshet have been drawn in Group G, and White Caps Cricket Club, Seamark Royals and DHL in Group H.
“This great interest in the NAS Cricket tournament is no surprise,” said Adil Yousif Albannay, Chairman of the NAS Sports Tournament’s Technical Committee. “Cricket is a hugely popular sport in UAE, especially among the South Asian expatriates and you can see them playing cricket everywhere.
“We are really happy to see the cricket community become a part of the NAS Sports Tournament and we are looking forward to a memorable tournament with 24 teams from across the country taking part and a total of 31 matches being played from May 7-22 at the Wombats Cricket Ground.”
Cricket is one of the two events added to the NAS Sports Tournament roster this year. The other is Ski and Snowboarding Championship.
“There has been a lot of enthusiasm for the Ski and Snowboarding championship at Ski Dubai as well,” said Albannay. “The men and women will be competing separately, under four different categories– Open, Under-16, Under-12 and Under-10, and there will medals for the top three in each category.”