Major GCC women’s volleyball tourney set for Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy is set to host its inaugural GCC Volleyball Cup tournament between Aug. 26 and 31 at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena, Zayed Sports City.

The tournament will feature six teams, including three from the UAE — Fatima Bint Mubarak Academy Team, Al-Wasl Club and Sharjah Ladies Club.

The event will also include one team each from Saudi Arabia (Saudi Noura Club), Kuwait (Salwa Al-Sabah) and Bahrain (Bahrain Club), with 72 players set to compete.

The staging of this month’s championship has been selected by the FBMA to coincide with Emirati Women’s Day, which will be celebrated across the UAE on Aug. 28.

By marking the occasion with the participation of the Gulf’s top players, FBMA hopes to inspire women and girls to take up the sport.

The tournament was announced during a press conference at Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s headquarters, attended by Talal Al-Hashemi, executive director of sports development at the council, and Amal Al-Afifi, board member of the FMBA.

Al-Afifi said: “The launch of the first GCC Volleyball Cup for Ladies represents another significant moment in FBMA’s history as we continue our journey of creating regular opportunities for females to participate and succeed in sport.

“Volleyball is a game that is going from strength to strength and rising in popularity and we are delighted to be bringing this important Gulf competition to Abu Dhabi that will showcase the best talent that the region has to offer.

“While we hope to attract new audiences to volleyball, the GCC Volleyball Cup for Ladies also falls on Emirati Women’s Day, which provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary women in our society.

“By placing the spotlight on these female volleyball athletes, we hope the younger generation that are watching the matches will be inspired by what they see and be encouraged to follow in their footsteps so they can strive in sport and become the best individual(s) they can be in life.”

Al-Hashemi said the tournament was “another great addition” to the busy schedule of sporting events being hosted in Abu Dhabi.

“We believe this new tournament that brings together players from different countries across the GCC will be a valuable opportunity for teams to interact and gain more experience and deliver better performances.

“We have formed a strategic partnership with FBMA and we are happy with the progress made by the Academy as it has become a major supporter of women’s sports in Abu Dhabi.”

The format will see the six teams split into two groups with the pool matches played between Aug. 26 and 28. Following a day’s rest, the semifinals will be contested by the top two sides in each group before the event concludes a day later.

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