AT ARAB U17 VOL­LEY­BALL CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

to book its spot in the semi­fi­nals. Oman de­feated Jor­dan 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 25-16 to set up a semi­fi­nal clash with Group A top­per Saudi Ara­bia, which had won all its group matches against Qatar, Jor­dan and Pales­tine re­spec­tively.

Oman put up a splen­did dis­play to race past a strong Saudi side in straight sets, win­ning 25-21, 25-22, 25-19.

In the fi­nal, Bahrain, which is pre­par­ing for the FIVB Boys’ U19 World Cham­pi­onship, to be held in Bahrain from Au­gust 18-27, proved too good for Oman to clinch its third Arab ti­tle.

Oman spik­ers also caught the eye of the ex­perts as two of the tal­ented young­sters were hon­oured with in­di­vid­ual awards. Ma­jid al Shi­bli was ad­judged the best No 4 (right side at­tacker) and Ab­dul­lah al Shi­bli was named the best libero of the cham­pi­onship.

The U17 team has been to­gether past the past two years un­der Ma­mari and the Oman Vol­ley­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (OVA), un­der the chair­man­ship of Sheikh Badr al Rowas, has been keen to groom this tal­ented youth team. Last year, the team had won the sil­ver at the GCC U16 cham­pi­onship in Bahrain.

In his re­marks to Mus­cat Daily, on Satur­day, Rowas said, “I am thank­ful to the boys and the coach­ing staff for such a bril­liant re­sult. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all of them and it is a proud mo­ment for Oman vol­ley­ball.

“It is the first time that any of our in­door na­tional team has won a sil­ver at an Arab cham­pi­onship. We have been on podium at GCC level in the past but this is first time for a na­tional team to claim a sil­ver at the chal­leng­ing Arab cham­pi­onship.”

“We have high hopes from this team and have been sup­port­ing their jour­ney by pro­vid­ing them good ex­po­sure. Last year, the boys even fea­tured in our sec­ond-di­vi­sion league as we planned to give them ex­pe­ri­ence to play against club teams. I think the young team has a bright fu­ture,” said Rowas.

On Satur­day evening, the team was given a warm wel­come at the Mus­cat In­ter­na­tional Air­port on their ar­rival. Rowas along with Fa­had al Raisi, di­rec­tor-gen­eral at the Min­istry of Sports Af­fairs, and other OVA board mem­bers were present to wel­come the team.

It has been a re­ward­ing year for Oman vol­ley­ball so far, be it the lat­est sil­ver-medal suc­cess or the achieve­ments of Al Salam Club. In March, Salam won the sil­ver at the 36th GCC Clubs Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship in Doha, Qatar. It was also the first time that an Omani club had earned a sil­ver at a re­gional meet. Prior to that, the only no­table feat was a bronze by Sa­ham Club in 2011.

Salam also missed a podium fin­ish when it ended fourth at the 35th Arab Clubs Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship that was held in Manama, Bahrain in Fe­bru­ary-March.

The vic­to­ri­ous Oman U17 team cel­e­brate af­ter clinch­ing a sil­ver medal at the 14th Arab U17 Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship in Am­man, Jor­dan, on Fri­day

Ma­jid al Shi­bli (left) and Ab­dul­lah al Shi­bli with their in­di­vid­ual tro­phies

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