Masdar clinch title but ice hockey the winner

Masdar edge out Yas 1-0 in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink late on Wednesday night, proving the sport has grown in popularity in the country.

ABU DHABI // Masdar won a tense final to claim the bigger share of the Dh90,000 prize pot in the ice hockey competition at the Armed Forces Officers Club (AFOC) Ramadan Festival.

Masdar edged out Yas 1-0 in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink on Wednesday night.

Omar Al Shamsi scored an early goal from an assist by Bojan Zidarovic, and then they held off a spirited challenge from Yas to emerge winners of the four-team tournament, which featured some of the leading Emirati senior and youth team players.

At one point in the match, Masdar had two players sin-binned, yet they managed to keep their opponents goalless during that three-minute period, with Yousef Al Nuaimi outstanding in the net.

"We had this competition run among the hockey enthusiasts during the Ramadan month but AFOC's involvement has raised the bar by adding handsome prize money," Mohammed Aref Al Jachi, the national team defender and a member of the UAE Ice Hockey Federation, said.

"We had good mixture of the senior and junior Emirati players, and our coaches, playing in the four teams.

"We named them Masdar, Yas, Reem and Saadiyat because they are the best known and most happening places in Abu Dhabi."

Meanwhile, the UAE's proposal to stage the Under 18 Asian Cup later this year has been given the go ahead by the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Asian Federation.

"The sport has really progressed since we won the Challenge Cup of Asia in 2009," said Al Jachi.

"We have scheduled the U18 Asian Cup for December but this has yet to be confirmed.

"For us, it is a big breakthrough to provide our younger players with an incentive as well as the opportunity to play at a high level."

The AFOC Festival is being staged over three weeks and has attracted more than 3,000 athletes in 13 different sporting disciplines, including boxing, judo and football.

””Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Amith Pasella on @AmithPassela

Published: August 12, 2011 04:00 AM


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