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Unbeaten Oman seal berth for final round of AVC Continental Cup

Oman became the first team from the Western zone to qualify for the final round of the AVC Continental Cup
Ajman, UAE, November 21, 2011 - Favourites and top seeds Oman qualified for the final round of the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup next year while Bahrain and Qatar remain in contention for the remaining two berths as the second day of competition at the Western Zonal tournament of the Olympic qualifying event concluded at Ajman, the United Arab Emirates (IAE) on Monday.

Gulf champions Oman stretched their winning streak to four from as many as outings as they defeated hosts the UAE 4-0 on Monday after hard battle. Oman’s first team of Alsubhi Badar and Albalushi Hassan had to go through three sets before disposing of the UAE 2’s Khalid Hamza and Mohammad Salem 21-18, 12-21, 15-10 in the morning session and Ahmed Hassan and Abdalla Obaid of UAE 1 21-16, 17-21, 15-9. Oman’s second team of Alsheriqi Abdullah and Alhousni Surur completed easy wins in straight sets over their UAE opponents.

Oman will now play Qatar who have a record of three wins to one defeat. Qatar saw a fierce opponent in the UAE on Monday as the hosts did well to tie their better-equipped neighbours 2-2 after four matches with the match going to a golden set. However, it was the pairing of Tareq Abdullah and Asif Sultan who beat Ahmed Hassan and Abdalla Obaid 15-10 to clinch it for Qatar in the end. The country kept their momentum in the second match with Iraq which they won 4-0 with little struggle

“Our players proved they are capable of playing under pressure. This is a very good result for us and we can look positively to the future,” Qatar’s Argentinean coach Ruben Barrera said.

“Bahrain and Oman are always the favourites when it comes to beach volleyball. But we have embarked on a development programme that is slowly starting to bear fruit.”

Bahrain, whose only blemish was a 3-1 loss to Oman on Sunday, did enough with wins against Kuwait, thrashing their opponents 4-0 and improving their record to three wins and one defeat.

Hosts the UAE had done well to secure a commanding 4-0 win against Iraq. But they lost their chance and were beaten by Qatar in the golden set before Oman added to their misery with a 4-0 win in the afternoon.

UAE and Kuwait both have a record of one win and three defeats while Iraq was the last without any wins.

The West Asian zonal competition being held in Ajman has attracted 12 teams from six countries from West Asia with nations playing each other before determining the top three teams that will represent the zone at the 2010-12 Continental Beach Volleyball Cup scheduled in New Zealand.

The competition will conclude on Tuesday with Oman taking on Qatar, the UAE meeting Kuwait and Bahrain playing against Iraq.

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