Qatari teams start campaign in style
Handball and 4x4 volleyball teams delight home fans with stirring wins.
Qatar’s handball and 4×4 volleyball teams made perfect starts to their campaigns in the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games.
The handball side, which began their matches on Friday, are on top of Group B with eight points. They won all their ties over the last two days at the Al Gharafa Main Court. The team will play its last group match, against Spain, on Sunday.
Qatar created two huge upsets on the opening day, beating 2018 Beach World Championship runners-up Croatia (16-21, 17-16, 9-6) and bronze medallists Hungary (18-20, 18-14, 7-4) via shootout.
Things were relatively easier for them on Saturday, with the games against Uruguay (19-18, 22-18) and Tunisia (18-12, 18-14) ending in regular time. Hani Khakhi proved to be their most consistent player, scoring goals almost at will.
Qatar’s coach Khaled Hassan was a happy man.
“We’ve had a great start to the tournament, and I’m pleased with the players’ performances. Being unbeaten so far, we’re firmly in the driver’s seat. We’ll approach the game against Spain in a calm manner,” he said.
Qatar Handball Association President Ahmed Mohammaed Abdulrab Al Shaabi, who watched the game against Tunisia from the stands, praised the players.
“The players’ thirst to win is phenomenal and they didn’t disappoint the fans. I’m confident we can go a long way,” he told Inside Qatar.
Qatar’s 4×4 volleyball team also had staged a strong fightback on the opening day.
After losing the first set against Indonesia 16-21, they regrouped to hit back strongly in the second (21-14). They maintained the momentum to steamroller the Indonesians 15-4 in the decider.
Cherif Younousse, one half of the world’s 14th-best beach volleyball pair, took charge of the game in the second set and the team had a smooth sailing.
“We missed my partner Ahmed Tijan, who’s out with an injury. We observed Indonesia’s game in the first set and then started to focus on Rendy Licardo, their playmaker. It led to him making mistakes, and things became easier,” he told Inside Qatar.
“Now that we’ve won the opener, the nerves have settled. We’re ready for any team,” he added.
The home side will face the USA and Germany in their next Group A games on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s challenge in the tennis mixed doubles tournament ended after Sultan Al Alawi and Mubaraka Al Naimi crashed out. They lost to the Japanese pair of Naoki Yamamoto and Erina Otsuka 0-6, 1-6 in the round of 32.