By Abdellatif Sharaa

Qatar Police team with the cup.

KUWAIT: Qatar’s Police club won the 37th Gulf Clubs Volleyball Championship that concluded on Monday evening by defeating Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal Club 3-0 in the fifth and final round with the scores of (25-19, 25-23, 25-21). Kuwait team ended in third place after losing to Dar Kulaib of Bahrain 3-0 during the final match, and the scores were (14-25, 22-25, 21-25), as Dar Kulaib took second place.

Qatar’s Police collected 15 points from 5 wins, and was crowned for the first time as Gulf Clubs Champion. Ten clubs were declared champions since the championship started in 1982. Bahrain’s Al-Muharraq Club won the championship 10 times, Kuwait’s Al-Qadisiya 7 times, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahly 5 times, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal 4 times, Qatar’s Al-Rayan 3 times, Bahrain’s Al-Najma 3 times, while Qatar’s Al-Araby, Bahrain’s Al-Naser, UAE’s Al-Jazeera and Dar Khulaib won it one each.

Chairman of the GCC volleyball organizing committee handed the cup to Qatar’s Police Club captain in the presence of Deputy President of International and Asian Volleyball federations, Essa Hamza, Kuwait Club Director General of Public Authority for Sport Dr Saqeer Al-Mulla, Deputy Chairman of the organizing Committee Mohammad Al-Nisif and other officials.

Cups for best skills in the tournament were handed, as the best setter was Mahmoud Hussan from Dar Khulaib, best position 2 player Yosuf Aghalf from Qatar Police, best position 3 Othman Adelwahid from Qatar, best second position 3 player Amer Al-Salem from Kuwait, best position 4 player Jo Nitto from Police, best second position 4 player Mohammad Yaqoub from Mohammad Yaquob from Dar Kulaib and the best Libro Hussein Abdallah from Dar Kulaib and the best all round player Walter Enriki from Qatar Police.

Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee (HOC), and Director General of Volleyball in Kuwait Club Mohammad Al-Nisf said the Championship was successful technically as Kuwait hosted all GCC countries, adding all were winners by bringing all Gulf countries together because sports gather us, and we congratulate the Qatar Police team for winning the title with outstanding performance and Dar Kulaib in second place, Kuwait in third. He added “Kuwait succeeded in hosting the championship during a short period, and we thank all working committees, particularly the media for its efforts to present the competition.

Kuwait’s coach Khalid Baleid said “third place is an achievement, we are looking for a better result but the difference in experience and playing with other teams deprived us from that”. He said “hosts always have ambition to compete for the title, but our loss to Police put that hope aside early, and our achievement is a true achievement that we should utilize in the future, and work on preparing upcoming players like Abdelaziz Najim and Athby Malek. Baleid was satisfied relatively with Kuwait’s performance despite the difference in experience which affected the team all during the tournament”.

Kuwait Club player Sultan Khalaf said he, as well as his teammates, benefited from playing against the strongest Gulf teams and gained more experience, and promised fans better levels and results in coming events. He added, “we are satisfied with third place, as we faced tough competitors in a tournament that has high technical level, although we suffered many injuries during preparations.

Police Club coach Damian Aredondo said his players were confident during the championship that won of high standard. He said “we had tough competition during the 10 days with fierce players. We expected to win the first title in our history, though we had to work very hard for it, and we succeeded.