Kuwait’s Abdulaziz Al Shatti won a gold and a bronze in the NAS Fencing Championship, while Egypt’s Alaaeldin Abouelkassem – the first Arab and African fencer to win a medal at the Olympics when he returned home with a men’s foil silver from the 2012 London Games – had to settle for a silver in the foil final after losing to Dutchman Daniel Giacon.
Al Shatti, who participated at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games under the Olympic flag due to Kuwait’s suspension, defeated Libyan Khalid Buhdeima 14-13 for gold in the Men’s Epee International final at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on Monday night, and clinched bronze in the Men’s Foil International with a 15-10 verdict over Egypt’s Abdelrahman Haffour.
In the final of the Men’s Foil International, Abouelkassem, 28, had a two-point lead over his Dutch opponent, but Giacon fought back to edge the duel 14-13. The Egyptian, however, had no regrets and described his participation in the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament as a great preparation for the tournaments ahead.
“I am really pleased to participate in the NAS Sports Tournament for the second time,” said Abouelkassem. “Given the quality of the opponents present here, including a couple of top international players, I believe this tournament is a really good preparation for the season ahead, especially since it is taking place only a few days before the Grand Prix in Shanghai [from May 17-19].”
Abouelkassem, who is a winner of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, saluted the role of Dubai and UAE in the development of Arab sports through “pioneering initiatives like the MBR Creative Sports Award, winning which is a goal of every Arab athlete”.
Titans through to last eight
Anchored by Veera Pandian, Titans Cricket Club won a tense low-scoring duel with ASR-Meritorious to book their ticket to the quarterfinal of the NAS Cricket T10 Championship at the Wombats Cricket Ground in Jebel Ali.
The Titans, who had defeated Abu Dhabi Cricket Lads by 10 wickets in their opening Pool 6 game with Sheridan Hadfield smashing a 29-ball 101, struggled chasing a modest target on Monday night after restricting ASR-Meritorious to 83 for 3. The target could have been lower, but R Ashwin (49 not out: 28b, 4x4s, 4x6s) plundered 22 runs from Atif Khan’s final over of the innings.
The Titans lost their first wicket with only 3 runs on the board and Hadfield (13) departed 15 runs later, leaving No3 Pandian to lead the chase as wickets kept falling at the other end. Pandian himself was run-out off the last ball of a dramatic 9th over, in which the Titans lost three wickets for 6 runs, but his 22-ball vigil of 32 (3x4s, 2x6s) had taken the Titans to within 3 runs of victory, and they got them through byes in R Subramaniam’s final over.
In the other games of the night, Salman Cool Boys defeated Rising Star Cricket Club by 23 runs to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinal spot from Pool 7.
The Cool Boys, whose opening game against Hamriya Kings was abandoned due to dense fog on Thursday night, posted 136 for 6 on the board with Muzamil Qasim being the star of their batting effort, smashing a 19-ball 48 (5x4s, 4x6s).
The Rising Stars came bolting off the blocks in the chase and had 81 on the board in 5.5 overs, but then three wickets in the space of 15 deliveries, for the addition of only 12 runs, turned the tide and the Rising Stars were eventually restricted to 113 for 5.
Bin Thani clinch third place
In the NAS Volleyball Championship play-off for third place, Bin Thani cruised to a straight-sets 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 win over Fohood Zabeel, with their foreign professional duo of Moroccan Zuhair Al Karawai (18 points) and Mohammed Sheikhi (16) leading the scoring charts.
Men’s Foil International Final: Daniel Giacon (Netherlands) beat Alaaeldin Abouelkassem (Egypt) 14-13. Third Place: Abdulaziz Al Shatti (Kuwait) beat Abdelrahman Haffour (Egypt) 15-10.
Men’s Epee International Final: Abdulaziz Al Shatti (Kuwait) beat Khalid Buhdeima (Libya) 14-13. Third Place: Taher Ashouri (Iran) beat Randy Postma (Netherlands) 15-11.
Men’s Epee Local Final: Saif Ahmad (Dubai Fencing Centre) beat Mohammed Al Maazmi (Sharjah) 15-12. Third Place: Khalifa Al Zarooni (Baniyas) beat Hamad Al Jallaf (Baniyas) 15-12.
Women’s Epee International Final: Nardine Botrous (Egypt) beat Kelly Boone (Netherlands) 15-14. Third Place: Sherwet Aly (Egypt) beat Salwa Aly (Egypt) 15-10.
Women’s Epee Local Final: Alanoud Al Saadi (Sharjah Women’s Club) beat Shouq Juma (Sharjah Women’s Club) 15-9. Third Place: Ashwaq Al Messabi (Baniyas) beat Fatima Al Kaabi (Baniyas) 15-14.
Third-Place playoff: Bin Thani beat Fohood Zabeel 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19).
Salman Cool Boys 136 for 6 (R Khan 21, W Gohar 24, M Qasim 48, M Asad n.o. 20; A Parkar 3-21) vs Rising Star CC 113 for 5 (B Palekar 42, N Parkar 31; K Akbar 2-16). Cool Boys win by 23 runs.
ASR-Meritorious 83 for 3 (K Rangaraj 20, R Ashwin n.o. 49; AG Sadiq 2-8) vs Titans CC 87 for 8 in 9.4 overs (V Pandian 32; K Aravindh 2-12, R Subramaniam 2-5, Hinson 2-5). Titans win by 2 wickets.
Men’s Open: Javier Lopez Garcia and Sandy Farquharson beat Mohammed Al Janahi and Saeed Al Marri 6-0, 6-0; Benjamin Cassaigne and Xavier Masson beat Jamil Hourani and Dean Mcfarlane 6-2, 6-2; Martin Noschese and Simon Rahman beat Emilio Misas and Guillermo Villafane 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
UAE Nationals: Salem Ali Al Houli and Essa Junaid beat Nasser Al Neyadi and Jalal Sharif 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Team Championship: Valencia beat Padel Pod 6-0, 6-0; Valencia beat Padel Pod 6-0, 6-0.
NAS WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL
Group A: Dewa beat Dubai Club for People of Determination 38-19; Al Ansari Exchange beat Dnata 21-8.
Group B: Dubai Ambulance beat RTA 34-15; Al Bustan beat DHA 16-14.
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.