By Mudassir Raja
The Tunisian team emerged champions of the first Inter-Community Beach Volleyball Tournament organised at Al Gharafa Sports Club. They beat Sudan in the final match on Friday evening to lift the Apparel Challengers Cup. For the third position, Egypt overcame Nepal. Earlier, in the first semi-final, Tunisia beat Egypt, while Sudan ousted Nepal in the second semi-final.
The two-day-long festival attracted a huge number of people from different expatriate communities. Fan zones with stalls serving cuisines from different countries were set up. The inaugural ceremony on Thursday featured a variety of cultural performances too.
The Inter-Ccommunity Beach Volleyball Festival was organised by Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) and Indian Sports Centre (ISC).
A total of 30 teams from 14 countries took part in the tournament. More than 200 beach Volleyball players took part in the tournament.
The other countries that took part in the tournament included: Qatar, India, Pakistan, Morocco, Ghana, Philippines, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Lebanon, and Senegal. The organisers had divided the 30 teams into 10 groups. Preliminary matches were played on Thursday. The second round – quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final – was on Friday.
The prize distribution ceremony was held immediately following the final. The winner’s trophy was handed to Tunisia by QVA Technical Director Hussein Imam Ali. The runners-up trophy to Sudan was given by QVA Beach Volleyball Head Roberto Reggiani. The medals and the trophy for the third position was given to Egypt by ISC President Nilangshu Dey.
Talking to Community, Mohd Habib Nabi, General Secretary of ISC, said, “The winning team appreciated the tournament. They said that they enjoyed playing with different teams and were very happy to meet expatriates from different communities living in Qatar. They said that such kind of sporting events should be conducted regularly for communities providing players a platform and communities a social activity.”
He added, “Speaking on the prize distribution ceremony, Hussein Imam Ali appreciated the participation of a good number of players in the tournament. He said that winning or losing does not matter much. He said that they would continue holding the event and hoped that more and more teams and communities will take part in the next tournament.”
Earlier on Thursday, a colourful ceremony was held to open the tournament. The dignitaries present on the opening ceremony were QVA President Ali Ghanem al-Kuwari, Indian ambassador P Kumaran, Nepali ambassador Ramesh Prasad Koirala, and senior officials from the embassies of Sri Lanka, Morocco, and Bangladesh.
Speaking at the opening, the QVA president said, “I am glad to see a lot of communities taking part in the tournament. The QVA is ready to extend all its facilities for future tournaments also. We will like to see more and more communities living in Qatar to take part in beach volleyball tournament in coming years.”
Ambassador Kumaran, in his speech, said, “It is a very good initiative by the ISC. The ISC, since its start, has done very good to arrange different sporting events at community level. We are thankful to the QVA for providing support and facilities to make the tournament successful.”
All players were then led by a band from the Birla Public School in a march past of the ground. Spectators from different communities cheered their teams, waving their national and Qatari flags. Following the march past, two colourful cultural shows were presented. The first show was presented by the Indian community and called Punjabi Bhangra. The second show was presented by the Ghana community and featured classic dances from the country.
Talking to Community, Puby Attricky, a member of the Ghana community, said, “People seemed to enjoy the sport and the festival. We got a chance to meet a lot of people from different countries and cultures. Such events should be held regularly and should also have cultural activities.”
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