Dubai Public Prosecution (blue) and Dewa players vie for the ball during their semi-final match.
Salah Ahmed of Dubai Public Prosecution (DPP) is hoping his team will be fourth time lucky when they meet Dubai Municipality (DM) in the final of the NAS Wheelchair Basketball Championship after finishing runners-up in the previous three seasons.
Dubai Public Prosecution qualified for their fourth successive final with a 38-19 win over Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) in the semis, while defending champions Dubai Municipality prevailed 37-31 over Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services to set up a repeat of last year’s final, where the men from Dubai Municipality had cruised to a facile 63-46 win.
“We are determined to win the title this time,” said Ahmed, who finished as the top scorer of the tournament in the previous three seasons.
“We have played three consecutive finals and we have lost each time. It’s time to win the title now. We are really determined this year and really focused, and have taken every match seriously, right from the first game.
“All the players are ready for the final and ready to win the title this time. I have won the title of the top-scorer for three years, but winning an individual honour without the team title is not as much fun.
“This time I want to win the cup along with the top-scorer’s title.”
In the NAS Padel Championship, Uncle Saeed defeated Mondia 2-0 to successfully defend their team title, while Valencia beat SHM for third place.
The Uncle Saeed team, whose patron is Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of UAE Padel Association, won the first tie of the final 6-2, 6-2 and then blanked Mondia 6-0, 6-0 in the second tie.
“Continuous training throughout the year and programmes being implemented by the UAE Padel Association, both in the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex and other clubs, has led to a rise in the overall levels of the game in UAE,” said Sandy Farquharson, a member of the Uncle Saeed team.
“The result, 2-0, probably does not do justice to the quality of matches we have just played in the final. It was not as easy as the scoreboard suggests.
“The two matches took more than two hours and that should tell you how fiercely competitive the final was. The level of competition this year was really high and most matches were close.”
Organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of 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’, has attracted more than 6,500 participants 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 Dhs.6 million on offer for them.
The tournament has grown by leaps and bound both in stature and numbers since its inception.
The popularity of the tournament reaffirms Dubai’s place as one of the top sporting destinations of the world where athletes from different part of the world come put their skills to test and return with big rewards.
The NAS Sports tourney has given a platform to many rising sportsperson, who went to make their career.
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