Dar Kulaib claim GCC title


Defending champions Al Rayyan of Qatar stumbled when it mattered most to hand the title on a platter to Dar Kulaib of Bahrain at the 36th GCC Clubs Volleyball Championships in Doha on Friday.
Topping the table with 12 points as against Dar Kulaib’s 10 going into the final day, three-time champions Al Rayyan could not secure the all important one-point that could have sealed the victory for them. They suffered a disappointing 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-22) defeat against Al Salam of Oman in their last match of the seven-team tournament.
Dar Kulaib, on the other hand, ensured they took the maximum advantage of the Qatari side’s stumble to post a convincing 3-1 (16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22)u8236? win over Qatar’s Al Arabi in the last match of the day.
The Bahrain side finished the round robin competition on 13 points as against runners-up Al Rayyan’s and third-placed Al Salam of Oman’s 12 points.
The other Bahrain side, Al Ahli, finished fourth with 11 points while Al Arabi’s eight-point finish could only see them emerge fifth. The sixth position went to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, former four-time champions.
Al Ain, who were the whipping boys of the tournament, ended the tourney without a single point losing all of their six matches.
The Dar Kulaib team enjoyed great fan support and a first time spectator at the nine-day tournament (which began on March 8) would have almost assumed he was in Bahrain as the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena was packed by their fans in purple-coloured team shirts. It was indeed a sight to behold.
The win was the first for the Bahrain side, while Al Rayyan missed the chance of being joint-fourth with Al Hilal on the overall winners table had they won for a fourth time.
“We are very disappointed. We were almost there but couldn’t really get there. This is a big blow to our ambition and we are really troubled that we couldn’t finish as planned,” said Al Rayyan’s Raimi Wadidie.
“I can’t give any excuse for today’s performance, but we’ve learnt our lessons. We want to apologise to our supporters for the result,” he added.
Dar Kulaib’s Ali Khyrallh was adjudged the best libero of the tournament while Saud Ammari of Al Salam won the MVP award.
The event was attended by QOC Secretary-General Dr Thani Abdulrahman al Kuwari, Qatar Volleyball Association President Ali Ghanem al Kuwari and other dignitaries.
Scores: Dar Kulaib (Bahrain) 3-1 Al Arabi (Qatar) (16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22)u8236?; Al Salam (Oman) 3-0 Al Rayyan (Qatar) (29-27, 25-22, 25-22); Al Ahli (Bahrain) 3-0 Al Ain (UAE) (25-12, 25-22,26-24).