BAHRAIN barged into the semi-finals of the 15th Arab Youth Volleyball Championship yesterday following a thrilling five-set victory over Kuwait at Princess Sumaya Hall in Al Hussein Youth City, Amman.
The Bahrainis gave up the first set but bounced back immediately to take the next two. They slacked off momentarily in the fourth, but in the tie-break they had an impressive display to close the match with a final score of 18-25, 25-17, 25-16, 10-25, 15-9.
The under-18 nationals had contributions from all across their 12-player roster, which comprised Abdulla Mohammed, Ahmed Sadeq, Mohammed Abdulazim, Mohammed Hadi, Ali Mohammed, libero Bader Mohammed, Hussain Ali, Mohammed Jaffar, Hashim Isa, Khalil Ebrahim, Hussain Mohammed and Ali Mohammed Jawad.
Bahrain are the tournament’s defending champions, and are now just two wins away from a repeat success.
They remained undefeated in the competition with their third straight win, having earlier finished the tournament’s preliminary stage with two victories from two games.
Kuwait suffered their second loss and are no longer in contention for the title. They had completed the group stage with a 1-1 win-loss record.
The other teams vying for a semi-final place were Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt and Lebanon.
Bahrain’s opponents in the final four are still to be determined. Both semi-final matches will be played today.
Tomorrow, classification games are scheduled to be played, followed by the final day of the competition on Friday which will include the gold and bronze medal games, as well as the final classification matches for fifth and seventh places.
Bahrain had previously won the Arab title three times. They claimed the championship in 2017 following a straight-sets win over Oman in the final. Prior to that, the national youth team had also claimed the 2013 title in Tunisia and the 2011 crown in Egypt.
Along with their triumph in 2017, four Bahraini players also came away with individual honours. Mohammed Al Abrar was named Best Player, Mohammed Haroona was named Best Setter, and Hassan Al Shakhoori and Mohammed Jassim were the best players in their positions.