A recap of last week’s national championship titles

The men’s volleyball league champions in Bahrain, Iceland, India, Lithuania and Qatar and the women’s title-holders in Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates were crowned last week.


Calicut Heroes picked up their first title in India’s RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23. In Thursday’s final of the third edition of the competition, played in Chennai in front of a sellout crowd of 5,000 fans, they managed a 3-1 (15-13, 15-10, 13-15, 15-12) win over PVL rookies Delhi Toofans. By winning the second stage of the league, Calicut progressed straight to the final, while Delhi had to go through Tuesday’s only semifinal match. The squad from the capital defeated defending champions Ahmedabad Defenders by a hard-fought 3-2 (15-9, 10-15, 10-15, 15-12, 17-15) by to progress to the title match.

Heroes’ 31-year-old opposite and captain Jerome Vinith Charles was honoured as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the season and picked up the Best Spiker award as well. His teammate, outside Chirag Yadav, was named Emerging Player of the Season and the squad’s playmaker Mohan Ukkrapandian was recognized as the Best Setter. Two of Delhi’s players and their coach also received individual recognitions. Toofans’ Colombian middle Daniel Aponza was awarded as the Best Blocker of the league. Anand K took the prize for the Best Libero, while Manoj Nair was honoured as the Best Coach. The Fair Play Team award went to Bengaluru Torpedoes.

Calicut Heroes’ team roster


Turan Turkistan snatched their first championship title in Kazakhstan’s women’s league on Tuesday, after closing the final series against Berel Oskemen in two matches. On Monday, Turan achieved a 3-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-22, 25-20) win and followed it up with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-11) sweep of Tuesday’s second game to top the podium. It took three four-set matches, also played in Turkistan, to determine the bronze medallists. In Wednesday’s decider, Kuanysh Petropavl celebrated a 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 25-14) win over Zhetysu Taldyqorgan to complete the podium.

Turan’s 34-year-old outside hitter Sana Anarkulova was named MVP of the season. The Dream Team of the competition featured setter Andjela Veselinovic (Turan), opposite Margarita Belchenko (Kuanysh), outside hitters Sara Sakradzija (Berel) and Yuliya Dymar (Kuanysh), middle blockers Mayra Koldina (Turan) and Kristina Anikonova (Berel), and libero Tomiris Sagimbayeva (Berel).


A five-set battle unfolded in the very last match of the Qatari men’s league season on Friday. Al Arabi Doha needed to win two sets against the other title contender, Al-Rayyan, to stay on top of the final standings. And so they did. Despite a 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 15-12) victory for Al-Rayyan, Al Arabi claimed gold for the 26th time in history. They finished in first place on a 17-1 win-loss record and 51 points, leaving Al-Rayyan with the silver on 17-1 win-loss record and 49 points. The bronze went to Qatar Doha, who took third place on 14-4 win-loss record and 40 points.


Sharjah picked up their second championship title in Qatar’s women’s league. Led by their 35-year-old opposite from Iran, Maedeh Borhani, they swept through the season without dropping a single set in 11 matches played to top the final standings. Borhani, who is planning her future as a coach, is a member of the IOC Olympic Solidarity funded Women in Sport High Performance Pathway, also known as the WISH programme (Cohort 4), designed to equip around 100 women to coach at elite levels. The silver medals went to Al Wasl Dubai, while American University in Dubai took the bronze.

Sharjah’s team roster


Dar Kulaib captured their second consecutive and fourth overall men’s Isa bin Rashid Volleyball League title on Sunday. The team claimed the title following a hard-fought 3-2 (25-22, 28-26, 18-25, 21-25, 17-15) victory over Al Ahli Manama in the third game of the best-of-three championship series, played in front of a mass audience at the packed Isa bin Rashid Arena at the Bahrain Volleyball Association (BVA) Headquarters in Riffa. Al Najma Manama finished third to claim the bronze. BVA President Sheik Ali Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa and the Bahrain Olympic Committee Board of Directors Member Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa jointly presided over the awards presentation.


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