Bangkok, Thailand, November 19, 2020 – In-form Omul Belad overpowered Bala Hisar in the thrilling showdown among the two unbeaten teams to stamp their authority over the Afghanistan’s historic Premier Volleyball League on Wednesday.
Both teams proved their invincibility from the group round-robin preliminaries to the semi-finals, with Omul Belad cruising past Bust in straight sets 25-14 25-23 27-25 and Bala Hisar struggling to beat Speen Ghar in dramatic four sets 25-20 23-25 25-17 25-18 in the do-or-die encounters on Tuesday.
The inaugural Afghanistan Premier League reached its peak on Wednesday when the two undefeated teams, Omul Belad and Bala Hisar, set up a final clash. A large crowd of local spectators thronged into the 2,500 gymnasium in Kabul City to be part of history, watching the thrilling showdown of the biggest volleyball event to be held in the country.
It was a battle between the top two teams in the tournament, coming in to this showdown, and their performances certainly lived up to their billing. Omul Belad got off to a shaky start to go down 21-25 in the first set against Bala Hisar.
However, despite failure in their opening set, Omul Belad were on a different level in the following sets with their blockers particularly outstanding. They came back full of confidence and got the job done whilst showing flashes of the brilliance that took them past rivals. Omul Belad took the remaining three sets 25-16 25-13 25-15 and the championship.
Earlier, Bust struggled hard to beat Speen Ghar in a hard-fought five-set thriller 16-25 27-25 25-18 23-25 15-12 in the third-place playoff to be content with bronze medal. Speen Ghar finished fourth place in this historic Premier League.
During the awards presentation on Wednesday, Omul Belad landed the prestigious trophy and gold medals, while Bala Hisar and Bust received silver and bronze medals respectively.
A total of six teams from different zones were divided into two groups to contest the group round-robin preliminaries of this inaugural Premier League from November 11 to 16. Each team played each of their opponents twice as if they were contesting the home-and-away clash. Group A featured Omul Belad, Speen Ghar and Negin Hariwa, while Group B comprised Bala Hisar, Bust and Nekhtar
All matches had been live telecast and streaming by Afghanistan National TV-RTA Sport with very high quality, while the Volleyball Information System (VIS) had been used for the first time in Afghanistan.
Three international experts from Islamic Republic of Iran Volleyball Federation were invited to help on supervision, refereeing committee, VIS and court control. They comprised Mr Masoud Yazdan Panah head of refereeing committee, Mr Mortaza Ghanbaraf Jeh, head of VIS, and Mr Mohammad Asadollahi Saraghein, court control official.
The competition was held by Afghanistan National Volleyball Federation in conjunction with Afghanistan National TV RTA Sport and Afghanistan National Olympic Committee.
On November 4, the ANVF launched event highlights of the first-ever Afghanistan Volleyball Premier League at Intercontinental Hotel Kabul in Kabul City. Afghanistan National Olympic Committee President Mr Hafizullah Wali Rahimi presided over the launch event, which was broadcast live by National Sport TV.
Also in attendance as guests of honour in the launch event included Mr Ajmal Ghani, Afghan Sports Federation President and senior advisor to the president, ANVF President and Minister for Disaster Management Mr Bahauddin Jelani, NoC Secretary-General Dr Yonus Popalzay, Deputy Sport Directors Mr Hamid Kaber and Mr Qasim Hamidi.
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