Al Arabi WIN QVA and Double Gold for Australian……… read more
Al Arabi win QVA League with one round to spare
Doha, Qatar, April 12, 2016 – Al Arabi Club ended Al Rayyan Club’s domination over the QVA League and regained the title after three years as they won the 19th round clash with the arch-rivals in four sets on Monday.
The 21-25 25-16 25-21 25-22 triumph in one hour and 47 minutes was their 18th of the League campaign and more importantly assured Al Arabi a 25th League crown, inflating their points tally to an unassailable 52 points. In their previous meeting as well, Al Arabi had beaten Al Rayyan 3-2, rallying from two sets down.
Police, who earlier in the day outclassed Al Ahli Club in straight sets, and Al Rayyan are in the second and third spots with same haul of 44 points. The former have 15 wins, one more than Al Rayyan. El Jaish are in the fourth spot with 42 points from 13 wins in 19 matches and Al Ahli rounded the top five, with 14 wins in 19 matches fetching them 40 points.
Before the all-important match, Al Arabi had 49 points from 17 victories in 18 matches. Al Rayyan, who had beaten Al Arabi in Oman recently to win the GCC crown, tallied 44 from 14 wins and four losses.
Al Arabi’s minimum task was to force the match into five sets and ensure the crown. But they had other ideas and lifted their game after losing the first set.
In the second set, Al Arabi, of course, got the benefit from the absence of Russian wing spiker Dmitriy Ilinykh, who injured his left thigh. At this stage, they pulled off seven points in a row from 9-9 and went on to seal the set.
Then Al Arabi tightened the screws further on their depleted and disjointed opponents and reeled off the third set, leading from the beginning. In the fourth, Al Rayyan attempted to stage rally. With Bilal Abu Nabout netting his service, Al Arabi earned the match point (24-21). Mohamed Alwai saved a point with a smash but Osmel Camejo fired a smash to wrap up the set and title.
Jorge Gonzalez Garcia was the leading scorer for AL Arabi, getting 22 points. Camejo was next best with 14 and Ibrahim Mohamed earned 13.
For Al Rayyan, Dahi Waleed Mubarak led the attack and got 23 points. Cassian De Toni netted 9, while Ilinykh had seven before pulling out.
Coach Maaouia Lajnef said, “It was very crucial match for us. It is always a difficult game when Al Arabi and Al Rayyan clash. In the beginning we did not play at our level. But slowly, we regained our flow and we won, making less mistakes.
“The most important aim for the day was victory for us. By god’s grace, we did exactly that. We’re really delighted with our performance,” added the Al Arabi coach.
Ibrahim Mohamed, who has already won six League crowns for Al Arabi, said after the match, “It was very important game for us. In the past three years, we won the cups but not the League. So it was something we were all focused on and prepared ourselves during the season. Now the mission is accomplished.”
Al Rayyan coach Igor Arbutina said, “Ilinykh is not only our best player, he is the team leader as well. So his absence disturbed everything for us. We tried to recover but it was only in the fourth set that we could fight.
“For us, the League is not over yet. Now our aim is to finish second. The last match is against Al Ahli and we’ll try our best to achieve it,” added Arbutina, who has been Qatar’s national coach as well.
Earlier, Police improved their prospects of finishing among the top four and qualifying for the Qatar Cup with a dominant 25-21 25-18 25-17 victory over main contenders Al Ahli Club.
While League leaders Al Arabi Club and second-placed Al Rayyan Club are entrenched for the prestigious event, featuring the top four teams of the League, El Jaish, Police and Al Ahli are battling for the two available spots.
The 19th round match between Police and Al Ahli assumed importance as both needed a victory to keep themselves in the race. With setter Josef Borislav using variety of spikers in Williams Diaz, Joao Neto, Kennedy Chigbo, captain Nadir Abu Bakar and Tareq al Janahi intelligently, they did enough damage at the net to keep the opponents under constant pressure.
Diaz was the most impressive and finished with 20 points for Police. Chigbo (10), Abu Bakar (9) and Neto (8) gathered points at crucial moments and kept their team on the top.
Kenyan star Philip Maiyo led the Al Ahli attack and scored 16 points. He was the only one among his team’s smashers to get going and collect most of the points. Mohamed Bishri (10) and Idris Sharqi (8) were the other two main scorers. This was however not adequate to stop Police from winning the points and the match.
In their final round matches, El Jaish face off with Al Wakrah on April 13. The former are likely to win the match and can bounce back among the top four. Police will take on strong Al Arabi, while Al Rayyan clash with Al Ahli on April 15, the final day of the League. Though anything is possible, the chances of victory for Al Arabi and Al Rayyan are bright, considering their all-round strength.
Police coach Yousef Faredoon sounded satisfied with his team’s strong display and said, “This was important victory for us today. In the League, we lost six points easily in two matches, which put us under tremendous pressure.
“But with this victory, we hope to go to either second or third spot, depending on the outcome of the Al Arabi and Al Rayyan match. We’ve worked very hard, especially on the defence. We had some problems in the No. 4 position but we’re improving day by day. So we’re delighted to collect three crucial points against Al Ahli,” added the Police mentor.
Police beat Al Ahli Club 3-0 in 1 hour & 15 minutes (25-21, 25-18 25-17)
Al Arabi Club beat Al Rayyan Club 3-1 in 1 hour & 47 minutes (21-25 25-16 25-21 25-22)
DOUBLE GOLD FOR AUSTRALIA ON SANDS OF THAILAND
Satun, Thailand, April 12, 2016 – Australia has beaten some of the strongest beach volleyball teams in Asia to win both the men’s and women’s gold medals at the Pak Bara Open in Thailand.
The Australian men’s team of Chris McHugh and Isaac Kapa followed up their gold medal at this month’s Asian Championships at Manly Beach with a hard-fought three sets win over Kazakhstan’s Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko.
It was a much easier affair for HelloWorld Volleyroos Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, who did not drop a set for the entire tournament, before beating Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova 21-16, 21-16 in the final.
Laird and del Solar finished runners up at this month’s Asian Championships.
The results are important for Australia ahead of the Asian Olympic qualifiers in June.
“We have been working consistently hard on our game all summer, and feel like things are starting to click a lot better for us now, for sure,” McHugh said.
“We continue to keep driving our game to new levels in pursuit of an Olympic berth for Australia. All games against Asian teams are important, not only for us but for all of the men’s HelloWorld Volleyroos squad as we pursue that Olympic spot.
“We are certainly developing a strong culture within the Volleyroos squad going into June.”
Australia also picked up a bronze medal in Thailand, with Damien Schumann and Joshua Court fighting back from one set down to beat Qatar’s Julio and Ahmed Tijan 18-21, 21-18, 15-10.
Kapa and McHugh’s gold medal match was a torrid affair lasting more than one hour, with the Australian top seeds also dropping the opening set before clawing their way back to win 19-21, 21-17, 19-17.
“It’s always good to win any tournament, especially with some high quality international teams present,” McHugh said.
“It was a tough tournament all round, playing in hot humid conditions, and the final was no exception, a big three-set battle against a high-quality Kazakhstan team.”
All three Australian teams will be hoping to carry their form into the remaining Asian tour, before returning to Australia in June to contest the Asian Olympic qualifiers.