Bahrain last night (Sunday) clinched its maiden gold medal at the Second GCC Games, being held in Dammam, in Saudi Arabia.
The nationals retained the volleyball title after a sensational come-from-behind 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Oman in the concluding game of the five-nation round robin event.
The victory helped Bahrain maintain top spot following a well-contested battle with four other countries from across the Gulf region. Set results were 20-25, 25-14, 25-13, 25-19.
Bahrain now took its tally at the games to 13 medals, having won nine silver and three bronze medals in the weightlifting events, which concluded on Saturday at the Prince Saudi bin Jalawi Gym in Al Raka.
Trio spikers Jassim Al Nabhan, Mahmood Abdulwahed and Hasan Dahi played a major part in Bahrain’s sensational victory, making the most of scoring for the team in crucial stages of the game.
Other prominent players – Ali Al Sairafi, Ali Ebrahim, playmakers Hussain Al Haiki and Mahmood Al Afya and libero Ayman Haroona were also in top form and made significant contributions to the victory.
Bahrain completed the event with 11 points from four matches. Qatar, who defeated Saudi Arabia 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21) in yesterday’s other game to bag the competition’s silver medal with nine points.
Oman rounded off the podium with six points, followed by fourth-placers Saudi Arabia (3 points) and fifth the UAE (1).
This edition championship was a daunting task for the Bahrainis, who kicked-started their title defence with an exciting come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Qatar. This was followed by identical 3-1 wins over the UAE and host country Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Bahrain will look to bounce back into the handball championship today (Monday) when they take on the UAE at 3.30pm at Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Sports City at 3.30pm.
Bahrain, who began their title defence with a 31-25 win over favourites Qatar, suffered a 31-33 defeat to Saudi Arabia, which saw them lose their lead in this five-team competition.
A win today will temporarily give Bahrain back top spot as Saudi Arabia will have a rest day. In today’s other match, Qatar hope to shrug off their defeat to Bahrain when they face Oman AT 5.30pm.
This championship is being played in a single round robin format and the team to finish with the highest number of points will be crowned champions on the concluding day on October 22.
Elsewhere, Bahrain’ trio swimmers Farhan Faraj, Abdulaziz Abdulla and Faraj Saleh arrived in Dammam yesterday and began their training at Prince Nawaf bin Abdulaziz City.
Both Farhan and Faraj are scheduled to take part in the 50m, 100m and 200 free style events. Abdulaziz, aged 16, is the youngest participant in the swimming events and it’s his first-ever overseas challenge. He is set to participate in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays.
The bowling team also reached Dammam yesterday ahead of the events starting tomorrow (Tuesday). Ahmed Al Khaja, Ali Al Qaseer, Ahmed Al Awadi and Osama Abdulrahman will be representing Bahrain in the bowling competitions, which continue until October 25.