The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy will host the inaugural GCC Volleyball Cup for women in Abu Dhabi this month as part of the ongoing efforts to develop local talent and provide more playing opportunities.
The six-team tournament from August 26-31 at Zayed Sports City will feature six club teams – FBMA, Dubai's Al Wasl Club and Sharjah Ladies Club, as well as Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Noura Club, Salwa Al Sabah of Kuwait and Bahrain Club.
The timing of the event has also been selected by FBMA to ensure it is held on Emirati Women’s Day, which will be celebrated across the UAE on August 28, to inspire the younger generation to take up the sport.
“The first GCC Cup represents another significant moment in FBMA’s history as we continue our journey of creating regular opportunities for females to participate and succeed in sport,” Amal Al Afifi, a board member of FBMA said during the launch at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council headquarters in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
“Volleyball is a game that is going from strength to strength and rising in popularity and we are delighted to be bringing this important Gulf competition to Abu Dhabi that will showcase the best talent that the region has to offer.”
Ruqaya Ali Alblooshi, the UAE volleyball international and FBMA captain, believes the GCC Cup provides an opportunity, particularly for the younger players, to gain experience.
“This tournament provides the up-and-coming young players the platform to gain experience at this level,” she said.
“We have three teams from the UAE representing Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. There are a number of UAE internationals in these three teams and I would guess the visiting teams too would have internationals in their squads.
“We have been preparing for this tournament for the last two months and are looking forward to this competition.”
The six teams will go into two groups and the top two from each will play in a cross semi-final.
“FBMA’s GCC Volleyball Cup is another great addition to the busy schedule of sporting events that are being hosted in Abu Dhabi,” Talal Al Hashemi, executive director of Sports Developments Sector at Abu Dhabi Sports Council, added.
“We believe this new tournament that brings together players from different countries across the GCC will be a valuable opportunity for teams to interact and gain more experience and deliver better performances.
“We have formed a strategic partnership with FBMA and we are happy with the progress made by the Academy as it has become a major supporter of women’s sports in Abu Dhabi.”