The qualifying draw for the volleyball event at the Arab Women Sports Tournament 2018 (AWST) has ensured some intense rivalry ahead, as the runners-up from the last tournament take on the title holders. Al Muharraq from Bahrain are looking to turn the tables on their old adversaries Al Wasl from the UAE in the first match of the event in what promises to be one of the fiercest matches of the competition.In the fourth – and largest – edition of AWST, organised by Sharjah Women Sports Foundation (SWSF) and held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of SWSF, the volleyball ties look to be a close-run affair, particularly as the Bahraini’s have every incentive to settle some old scores – literally.With that match starting on yesterday, Sharjah Sports Club for Women, the current bronze medal holders, will also be looking to move up the podium steps as they take on Sahar from Oman at 8pm.Today (Monday), El Difaâ Hassani from Morocco will face Al Fatat from Kuwait on 12pm, while Al Muharraq are in action again, this time against Sharjah Sports, also at 12pm. Two more games will be held on Wednesday as Sahar and Al Fatat from Kuwait look to set up and spike at 6pm, followed by Al Wasl against El Difaâ Hassani at 8pm.
As the pace picks up in what is considered to be a punishing schedule, fitness and stamina will be key factors as Al Muharraq play El Difaâ Hassani at 12pm on Thursday, and Sharjah Sports face Al Fatat at 2pm. Sahar will be looking to take another step towards the medals as they take on title-holders Al Wasl on Friday at 7pm, and Sharjah Sports team will meet El Difaâ Hassani at 9pm.Saturday will feature two matches, the first between Al Fatat and Al Wasl UAE at 7pm, and then Al Muharraq will take on Sahar at 9pm. The final day is likely to produce the toughest matches of the competition as Al Fatat face Al Muharraq at 12pm, El Difaâ Hassani play Sahar at 2pm and Sharjah Sports Club for Women will try to knock Al Wasl off its perch at 4pm. The three matches will be held at the SWSF’s sports hall on Sunday.The draw was attended by several chairpersons and heads of technical and organising committees, as well as heads of delegations and representatives of Arab teams. They addressed a set of volleyball rules and the procedures of kicking off the volleyball competitions. They also discussed the fundamentals of volleyball and the ethics of fair play.