5th April 2015: The 2nd GCC Beach Games are at full speed as competitions enter the third day following the spectacular Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 2nd April. The Games will see over 300 athletes compete from across the GCC compete in 13 events across eight sporting disciplines held in al-Gharafa Club and Katara Cultural Village until 9th April.
Team Qatar outperformed the competition in handball and secured a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Oman on Saturday, blazing ahead of the teams with 6 points and thus guaranteeing a gold medal regardless of the result of the upcoming match against Bahrain on Monday. The Omani handball team is likely to clinch the silver medal ahead of Bahrain, who are yet to win a game.
Qatar’s volleyball teams also performed exceptionally well, with Qatar’s Team A defeating Oman and Team B defeating Kuwait. Qatar will head to the semi-finals against their fellow countrymen in Team B, while Oman will do the same thus ensuring a Qatar versus Oman final on Monday.
The excitement continued over the weekend with the football competitions in al-Gharafa Club, where the UAE topped the points table after their 4-1 victory over rivals Kuwait on Saturday. Bahrain currently stands in second place after defeating Team Qatar 2-1 in a highly contested match. The Beach football competitions will continue until the last day of the Games.
Commenting on the progress of the 2nd GCC Beach Games, Director of PR for the Beach Games Organising Committee and the Qatar Olympic Committee, Mohamed al-Fadala said:
“We are extremely pleased with the performance of our athletes in this incredibly competitive tournament and are honored to host such an exciting edition of the GCC Beach Games. The Games have so far been a great success and will surely inspire a new generation of athletes, locally, regionally as well as internationally.”
Meanwhile in Katara Cultural Village, Team Qatar’s Ali Gomaa Bukhalif secured the bronze medal in the Single Sculls rowing event, three seconds behind Kuwait’s Mohamed Subaiti who took silver, while the UAE’s Ahmed Al-Humaidi bested the competition to claim gold. The Double Sculls event however was dominated by Kuwait who took home the gold medal ahead of the UAE who took silver and Bahrain who claimed Bronze.
The excitement is set to continue as the week progresses, with Sailing, Open Water Swimming and 3x3 Basketball matches set to begin from the 6th April onwards.
After the first edition held in Bahrain in 2010, this year’s GCC Beach Games are held in Doha’s state-of-the-art facilities and iconic landmarks over an action-packed eight day sporting spectacle. The multi-purpose complex at Al-Gharafa Club is hosting the volleyball, handball, football and 3x3 basketball events, while Katara Cultural Village, situated on Doha’s Corniche, will host open water swimming, rowing and sailing.
The concept of a Beach Games was created by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) with the staging of the first-ever Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia in 2008, and is seen as a pioneer in bringing new sports to the sand. The Asian Beach Games have been held every two years since, with the most recent edition being hosted in 2014 in Phuket, Thailand. Its popularity and success led to a resolution at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in November 2014 to launch a World Beach Games, with the first event set to take place in 2017.
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