Hosts Qatar enjoyed mixed fortunes on the final day of the AVC Continental Cup Phase 1 Western Zone on Thursday, with their men’s team capturing the title following the dramatic victory against Oman and their women’s side going down to Lebanon in the showdown at the Al-Gharafa Beach Complex.
In the men’s event, terrific Cherif Younisse and Ahmed Tijan, current FIVB world No.3 and bronze medalist’s at the Tokyo Olympics, not only steered Qatar to the eventual 2-1 win against Oman for the men’s tile, but also secured their men’s berth in the AVC Continental Cup Finals (Phase 3), the final qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Cherif and Ahmed on Thursday combined well to power past Oman’s Hood/Mazin 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) in 34 minutes to hand the host side their first win.
However, the formidable pairing of Ahmed and Haytham saved the day for Oman as they successfully made amends for the team’s loss in the first clash, brushing off Qatar’s Abdallah Nassim and Mahmoud Essam 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) in similar 34 minutes to help Oman hold the hosts 1-1. The Golden Match was held to determine the eventual winning team.
Cherif and Ahmed came to the Qatar’s rescue again as they pulled off a sensational 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) win against Oman’s Hood and Mazin in the Golden Match to completely end the strong visitors’ challenge.
Qatar landed the men’s title, with Oman picking up silver. Palestine had to be content with bronze medal. However, Oman still keep their hopes of advancing to the AVC Continental Cup Finals alive, but they next have to compete in Phase 2 to fight for a place in the Finals.
Meanwhile, Lebanon smashed Qatar’s dreams of making a clean sweep of both titles on offer, trouncing the host side 2-0 to reign supreme in the women’s event.
Hamzah and Mirna spent only 21 minutes in defeating Qatar A’s Sumaja Al-Madhoun and Dalama Yaghmour in a one-sided battle 21-1, 21-14 to give Lebanon the first win.
In the second match, Lebanon’s Nour and Akkari proved too strong for Laila Mahmoud and Hanaa Al-Khater, giving the Qatar B team no room of challenges as the Lebanese girls mercilessly crushed the host duo in a totally lopsided affair 21-1, 21-4 in just 16 minutes.
Lebanon, which beat Jordan 2-0 the previous day, captured the women’s crown to qualify for the AVC Cup Continental Cup Finals. Qatar claimed silver and next made it to Phase 2, while Jordan clinched the third position.
Mr Ali Ghanem Al-Kuwari, President of the Qatar and West Asia Volleyball Associations, praised the Qatar’s victory in the tournament, citing that its qualification for the AVC Continental Cup Finals that will qualify the winning team for the next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
He said that winning the men’s title has confirmed the team’s superiority and development in the game, and this title is added to the team’s great achievements in all tournaments in which they had participated through classification.
Mr Ali Ghanem Al-Kuwari later presided over the awards presentation and the closing ceremony. He presented the Champions’ Trophy to the Qatar men’s team and the Lebanon women’s side.
Silver medals had been presented by Mr Mohammed Salem Al-Kuwari, Secretary General of the West Asian Volleyball Association, to the Qatar women’s team and the Oman men’s squad.
Mr Mohammad Anber Al-Nasser, Director of the Tournament, presented bronze medals to the Palestine men’s team and the Jordan women’s side.