Debutants won back-to-back five-setters, edging the defending champions in semi-final, before beating Lifeline Hospital
UAE Exchange Jimmy George Memorial Volleyball Tournament at the Al Jazira Club Indoor Stadium with a thrilling 25-21,25-17,23-25,25-23 win over Lifeline Hospital.
It was a dream debut for Ocean Travels while it was heartbreak for the second successive year for Lifeline, who had also finished runners-up last year to New Medical Centre.
Packed with Iranian internationals, Ocean did start off as the favourites with a large crowd in attendance. But Lifeline put up a plucky display and fought all the way before being vanquished by a better side. Iranians Arash Sadeghiani, Vali Nourmohammadi and Mohsin Andalib played their hearts out in Ocean’s triumph while leading the fight for Lifeline were Brazilian Vernon Igor and German Herbert Vero.
Ocean had rallied from a set down to win a five-setter against defending champions New Medical Centre in the first semi-final while Lifeline Hospital defeated co-hosts Al Jazira Club 25-20, 25-15, 25-23 in the other on Friday night.
“This year we have witnessed a higher standard of volleyball and the crowds fully enjoyed the event. This event has grown over the years and continues to do so,” Shetty said. The winning team’s star Arash Sadeghiani, who was named the Best Player of the tournament, said: “After playing two five-setters during the last two days we were very tired and made a few mistakes in the third set which cost us the set.
“However, we managed to win the fourth which was good as we were tiring and a fifth set would have been difficult.”
The list of award winners: Best Player: Arash Sadeghiani (Ocean Air Travels); Most Promising Player: Saeed Al Mas (Al Jazira); Best Libero: Ali Hosseyni (Ocean Air Travels); Best Blocker: Herman Engala (Lifeline Hospital); Best Set-Ups: Saber Narimannezhad (Ocean Air Travels); Best All-rounder: Naveen Raja Jacob (NMC); Best Spiker: Herberto Qvero (Lifeline Hospital) and Most Disciplined Team: NMC.
By M. Satya Narayan, Chief Sports Reporter
Image Credit: Abdul Rahman