Bahrain’s junior national volleyball team has begun its final preparations for the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Men’s Under-21 World Championship, which will be hosted by the kingdom from July 18 to 27 at Shaikh Isa Sports City in Riffa.
Bahrain’s national team will be the same as the one that played in the recent Asian Volleyball Confederation Western Zone Qualification Tournament for the Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship.
The Bahrainis, who are all 21 years old or younger, were hugely successful in the qualifiers, which were also held in the country. They took first place amongst the six participating nations and secured one of three berths in the continental event, which is scheduled for next month.
The juniors now turn their focus to the world championships. The squad, which is being guided by Bahraini head coach Yousuf Khalifa, includes Mahmood Alhussain Mohammed, Sayed Al Abbar, Jawher Fares, Saif Yusuf Saif, Mohammed Abdulla, Mohammed Haroona, Hassan Haider, Jasim Matrook, Hussain Thamer, Hasan Abdulla, Sayed Jaffer and libero Husain Sultan.
Bahrain Volleyball Association (BVA) president Shaikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa expressed his delight with the ongoing work ahead of the competition.
Shaikh Ali praised the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) for its support of the event, thanking BOC secretary general Mohammed Al Nusuf, for following up on Bahrain’s preparations for the under-21 World Championship.
Shaikh Ali said that the global tournament would cement Bahrain’s place as one of the most efficient host nations of international-level volleyball events.
A total of 16 countries representing five confederations under the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) are competing in Bahrain. They have been divided into four groups of four teams each for the tournament’s opening stage.
Bahrain are in Pool A along with China, Morocco and Puerto Rico. Pool B is composed of Cuba, Argentina, Egypt and South Korea while Pool C includes Russia, Iran, the Czech Republic and Tunisia and Pool D consists of Italy, Canada, Brazil and Poland, the defending champions.
The championship is the 20th edition of the prestigious competition. Bahrain is hosting the event for the third time, having previously staged it in 1987 and 1997.
Bahrain are playing in the tournament for the fourth time. Aside from the years they hosted, the nationals also competed in 1989 when the event was held in Greece.
Bahrain’s best finish was eighth in 1987. In the 1989 tournament, the Bahrainis were classified 16th, while in 1997 they improved to ninth overall.