Members of the UAE national team celebrate after receiving the trophy Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Padel Association.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Delivering a dominant performance and egged on by the cheering crowd, the UAE national team sweep aside Qatar 2-0 in the final to win the inaugural edition of the Nad Al Sheba International Padel Championship.
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.
The 10th edition of the NAS Sports tournament carries a total prize purse of Dhs4 million. Dhs3 million to be disbursed among the winners of eight sports events, while a total of Dhs1 million worth of prizes will be distributed among the audience.
Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Padel Association and Honorary President of the Arab Padel Federation, crowned the winners in the presence of Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the NAS Sports Tournament, Khalifa Yousef Khouri, Vice President of the UAE Padel Association, and Hassan Al Mazrouei, Tournament Director.
Sheikh Saeed dedicated the Nad Al Sheba International Padel Championship title to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, for his unwavering support to padel sport, which was launched at the NAS Sports Sports Tournament and later gained popularity across the UAE.
Sheikh Saeed praised the success of the first edition of the Nad Al Sheba International Padel Championship and the high level of competition.
Praising the national team players on their victory, the UAEPA president said: “Our focus is on developing the national team, and strengthening its ranks while giving a chance to a number of promising new players. We look forward to achieving more good results in the future.” Sheikh Saeed also lauded the performance of the Qatari team. This is the second major title for the UAE team at the NAS Sports Tournament, as last year at the ninth edition they won the inaugural GCC Cup after beating Qatar. Eight teams, including the UAE, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Iran, were in the fray.
Faris Al Janahi and Abdullah Al Abdullah gave the hosts a perfect start as they defeated Qatari duo Jaber Al Mutawa and Khalid Al-Kuwari 6-1, 6-2 in the opening set.
Later, Omar Bahroozian, coach of UAE tennis, and Abdullah Ahli beat the Qatari duo Mohammed Al-Kuwari and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to seal the title for the country.
Bahrozian said: “We would like to thank fans for their overwhelming support and attendance throughout the competition, especially during the semi-finals and final, which gave us enough motivation to win the championship.
“Our victory in the GCC last year at the NAS Sports Tournament and now the international championship title reflect that our national team is improving fast and proving themselves, especially given that the championship featured eight teams,” he added.
Elsewhere, Al Jawareh stunned defending champion Emperor 3-0 to reach the finals of the NAS Volleyball Championship.
They started well and managed to overcome their rivals in the closely contested opening set, 29-26. In the second set, Emperor tried to make a comeback, but strong defense by Al Jawareh stopped them in their tracks. Al Jawareh won the second set 26-24. Later, they maintained the pressure on Emperor and won the third set 25-20 to secure a spot in the final.
Al Jawareh’s Brazilian import Dasilva Gabriel scored 16 points, while Emperor’s Amin Ismail also netted the same number of points.
In the second semi-final, Zabeel beat Fahood Zabeel. Fahood Zabeel took the opening set 25-22, but Zabeel bounced back to win the next three sets 25-13, 25-20, 25-23 to wrap up the match. Kody Arthur was outstanding during the match and delivered 24 points for the winners.
The final of the NAS Volleyball Championship will take place on Monday at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex main hall.