Members of the Al Jawareh team celebrate after winning the final against Zabeel at the NAS Sports Tournament in Dubai on Monday.
The Al Jawareh produced a superb performance to sweep aside Zabeel in the Volleyball Championship final as the 10th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament came to a close in Dubai on Monday.
Held under the theme ‘Limitless Abilities’ and organized by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), 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 at the iconic Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.
Held annually, the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament this year featured competitions in eight different sporting disciplines, including volleyball, padel, wheelchair basketball, running, cycling, archery, jiu-jitsu, and fencing, where more than 5000 male and female participants competed.
The event, which started on March 23, ran for 19 days, carried a prize purse of Dhs4 million and was watched by more than 40,000 spectators of different ages and nationalities.
Al Jawareh, featuring French, Brazilian, and Spanish players, dominated the match from the beginning and defeated Zabeel 3-0. Al Jawareh, who lost the final last year to Emperor, didn’t take the foot off the gas after winning the opening set 25-17. Keeping their rivals under pressure, Al Jawareh won the next two sets 25-18 and 25-16, respectively, to comfortably claim the title.
The prizes were given by Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of the tournament, Lieutenant General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, General Director of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and Chairman of the Sports Games Sector at Shabab Al Ahli Club, Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and Vice Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the tournament, and Hassan Al Mazrouei, Tournament Director, in the presence of the sponsors.
Zabeel finished second, while the defending champion, Emperor, had to settle for third place.
Mohammed Abdulaziz of HMS won the Best Citizen Player award, and Al Jawareh’s Brazilian import Gabriel Da Carlos Silva won the Best Overall Player of the Tournament award. Leonardo Matinez of the Zabeel team got the Best Hitter award.
International referees including Hamed Al-Rossi, Ismail Ibrahim, Khalid Rashid, and Mohammed Al-Dawla were also honored during the closing ceremony of the 10th edition of the NAS Sports Tournament.
The organizing committee also feted the main sponsors of the tournament. Mona Sadoun, VP, Customer Experience and Marketing, received the award on behalf of Al Tayer Motors. Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer, received for Dubai Duty Free. They also honoured FTN, and Naraq Shaghalsian was there to accept it on their behalf. Dr. Harmik Singh, Group President of Plan B, and Abdul Rahman Amin, Director of Dubai Sports Channels, representing Dubai Media Incorporated, were also honoured during the ceremony.
Saeed Hareb extended his deepest thanks and gratitude to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, for his support of the NAS Sports Tournament, one of the largest sports tournaments of its kind, and stressed that the 10th edition witnessed unparalleled success.
“The NAS International Padel Championship and volleyball competition, which drew the best volleyball players in the world, have become platforms for the presence of the best players.
“We anticipate that the number of international players in the tournament will rise, and we hope that our clubs will benefit from the tournament and from the presence of international stars.”
Hareb stressed that the tournament unearthed new talent in different sports, and the clubs should take advantage of this opportunity to follow up on the players, make contracts, and make preparations for the upcoming season.
Lieutenant General Marri thanked Sheikh Hamdan for his vision, which paved the way for the NAS Sports Tournament’s success and turned it into one of the biggest sporting highlights.
He lauded the success of the volleyball championship as world class, both at the level of players and coaches and in terms of the distinguished organization.
“The attendance of fans at the Nad Al Sheba Sport Tournament exceeded expectations, which is proof of the tournament’s caliber, the high level of the organization, the presence of the best players, and the appropriate timing of the matches,” he added.
France’s Brice Donat, coach of the Stade Poitevin Poitiers volleyball team, who led Al Jawareh to the title, said it was a wonderful and useful experience.
“Given that the Al Jawareh team consists of all the components of the Poitiers team, the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament is a fantastic and beneficial experience for him and the players.
“Although I had heard a lot about the Nad Al Sheba Sports Championship in the past from players who had competed in it and had also watched a number of matches and the final from the previous year, I had not anticipated the Nad Al Sheba Sports Championship’s high technical level. It is wonderful to see such a high level in the Arab world.
“We entered the tournament with a goal of winning the title. We tried to regain our focus so that the team achieves the goal for which it came, but the picturesque charm of Dubai nearly caused the players to lose it as some time was allocated for tourism, visiting the most notable landmarks in the city and the desert, and enjoying swimming on the beach. We had a unique experience, strong matches and training in the most beautiful sports facilities, in addition to the warm reception,” said the French coach.