DUBAI - HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the National Olympic Committee, graced the opening the ceremony of the 7th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
HE Mattar Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, and HE Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, were also present at the opening ceremony, which was based on the theme “Inspiring Generations”, along with HE Humaid Al Qutami (Director General of Dubai Health Authority and First Vice President of the NOC), HE Dawood Al Hajiri (Director General of Dubai Municipality), HE Sami Al Qamzi (Director General of the Department of Economic Development), HE Saeed Hareb (Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council), HE Issa Hilal Al Hazami (Secretary General of Sharjah Sports Council), Nasser Aman Al Rahma (Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council), Hassan Al Mazrouei (Director of NAS Sports Tournament) and a number of other officials and dignitaries.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the NAS Sports Tournament is the biggest event of its kind in terms of participation and prize money, and has been held every year in the Holy Month of Ramadan since 2013.
The Tournament has seen more than 22,000 athletes take part over the past six seasons and the seventh season, being held under the slogan ‘Limitless Abilities’, will see more than 6,500 participants in action in 13 different events: Futsal, Volleyball, Padel, Fencing, Wheelchair Basketball, Futsal for People with Hearing Disabilities, NAS Night Challenge, the 5km and 10km Run, 75km Cycle Race, 3x3 Basketball, Jiu-Jitsu, Cricket and Snowboarding. There is a prize purse of AED 6 million on offer for them.
STUNNING WIN FOR AD TIGERS
The NAS Cricket T10 tournament, meanwhile, got off to a thrilling start at the Wombats Cricket Ground in Jebel Ali with Abu Dhabi Tigers defeating Noor Bank by three wickets in a nail-biting final-over finish.
Batting first, Noor Bank put 138 on the board in their 10 overs, losing only one wicket – Saad Jawaid for a 17-ball 38 (3x4, 3x6). The other opener, Asif Khanani returned unbeaten on 60, smashing six fours and four sixes in his 30-ball stay at the crease, while Shane Alam Faridi hit five fours and two sixes in his 14-ball blitzkrieg of 36.
Their batting efforts, however, were in vain as the Abu Dhabi Tigers crossed the line with two balls to spare despite losing wickets at regular intervals, thanks to Farooq Khan’s (17 runs, 5 balls, 1x4, 2x6) last-over heroics.
Given a solid start by their openers Waseem Shahzad (12: 7b, 2x4) and Man-of-the-Match Ameer Hamza (59: 21b, 5x4, 6x6), who added 61 from 3.2 overs for the first wicket, the Tigers slipped from 96-1 in the 6th over to 123-7 in the 9th, losing the last three of those wickets in the space of just four balls with the addition of only two runs.
Farooq, who came in to bat at No 9, however, took his team to victory with some lusty blows in the final over, sealing the win with a massive six over long off. He hit two sixes and a four and, helped by a wide from the bowler Tufail Khan and 2 byes, Abu Dhabi Tigers got the required 19 runs from the final over in only four balls.
There was no such drama in the opening match of the tournament though as Dubai Exiles RFC drubbed CPD Knight Riders by a huge margin of 104 runs.
Batting first, the Exiles lost opener Ajay Krishnan off the second ball of the innings with nought on the board, but they still managed to post a mammoth 176 for 3 on the board. The other opener, Akbar Bosan topped the scoreboard with a 20-ball 52 (3x4, 5x6), while Clint Berkenshaw smashed two sixes and four fours in his 15-ball 31. But Umair Asif, coming in at No 5, stole the limelight with a blazing 43 off 14 balls, that included three hits to the fence and four maximums.
In reply, the CPD Knight Riders could only manage 72 for 6 from their 10 overs, with only two of their batsmen – Dipin Ganesh (21: 14b, 3x4, 1x6) and Jijo John (22: 17b, 2x4, 1x6) – getting in double figures.
In the NAS Padel championship, Emilio Misas Pereda and Guillermo Villafane opened their campaign with a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win over Xavier Masson and Benjamin Cassaigne in a Group B match of the Men’s Open. In Group A, Mohammed Al Janahi and Saeed Al Marri cut short Biel Relat Ballester and Carlos Luna’s fightback to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
NAS NIGHT CHALLENGE
The first leg of the NAS Night Challenge – for teams - will be taking place on Thursday night and more than 900 teams – males/mixed and females - have registered for the 4km race. The second leg of the Challenge, for individuals male and female - will take place on May 16 and close to a 1,000 obstacle-race enthusiasts are expected at the start.
Being held as a part of the NAS Sports Tournament for the third year, this year’s NAS Night Challenge brings more prize money than ever before, with the male, female and team professional in with a shout of winning part of the AED144,000 prize money.
“The NAS Night Challenge has become a hugely popular addition to the NAS Sports Tournament, with thousands of participants of different nationalities - young and old, men and women - taking part in the past two years,” said Adil Yousif Albannay, Chairman of the Tournament’s Technical Committee.
“As organisers, we are always delighted to have so many people of different age and nationalities participate, and this is one of the main objectives of the NAS Sports Tournament: to bring together different sections of our diverse community and give them an opportunity to experience the thrill of competition in a safe environment.
“Of course, sports and physical activity are a source of happiness and positive energy and events like the NAS Night Challenge help spread that message to a wider audience.”
NAS CRICKET BRIEF SCORES
Dubai Exiles 176 for 3 (MA Bosan 52; C Berkenshaw 31, U Asif n.o. 43) beat CPD Knight Riders 72 for 6 (J John 22; N Vish 2-16; H Pumpwala 2-12) by 104 runs.
Noor Bank 138 for 1 (AK Khanani n.o. 60, S Jawaid 38, S Faridi n.o. 36) lost to Abu Dhabi Tigers 143 for 7 (A Hamza 59, I Afridi 20, F Khan n.o. 17) by 3 wickets.