The eight season of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament got underway on Wednesday night with two exciting duels in the Bronze Category of the NAS Padel Championship on the courts of Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.
The opening match of the season set the pattern as Thomas Benaroya and Hazem Shish were taken the distance by Omar Ali Ahrari and Saeed Matar Al Jabri before prevailing 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to book their place in the second round of the Bronze Category for Men, which is open to Emiratis and UAE residents with C-Level skills.
In the second match of the Bronze Category for Men, Ali Mohammed Ahli and his cousin Hamad Ismail Ahli were made to work hard for their 7-5, 6-2 win by Valter Teixeira and Joao Morais.
“It was a tough match, but we are glad to get through to the round of 16,” said Benaroya. “After losing the opening set, we came back strongly to win the next two and this should give us confidence going forward. We played really well as a pair.
“Tough matches in the opening round are evidence of the high level of this competition, and also of the hunger of players to compete strongly and do well in the NAS Padel Championship.”
He added: “We are grateful to the NAS Sports Tournament’s Organising Committee for scheduling this tournament despite the difficult situation we are in because of COVID-19. It is a wonderful tournament as always, and having this tournament is a confirmation of UAE’s success against COVID-19.”
Hamad Ismail Ali was also excited to see the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament return and said: “Participation in the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament is the biggest incentive for us, especially as it is one of the most important sporting events that are held in the Holy Month of Ramadan. The level of competition is really high as well and that makes it doubly exciting for us.”
In the Golden Category, which is open to Emirati or Expat men with A-Level and B-Level skills, the father-son duo of Matthew McFarlane and Dean McFarlane cruised to a commanding 6-2, 6-0 win over Eric Suarez and David Rodrigo, while Emilio Misas and Masson Xavier received a walkover against Maxime Morin and Biel Ballester Relat.
More than 700 local and international players are taking part in the NAS Padel Championship, which is offering a total prize purse of AED 199,000. Three hundred and sixty men had registered for the Men’s Bronze Category, and 86 men for the Golden Category, while 50 ladies registered for the Women’s Bronze Category.
The qualifying tournament for these three categories, which was held between April 8 and 13, witnessed 206 matches from which 32 pairs each have qualified for the Men’s Bronze Category and Golden Category, while 16 pairs have made it to the main draw of the Women’s Bronze Category.
This year’s NAS Padel Championship also features an internationally-ranked International Pedal Federation (FIP) Stars tournament and more than 250 of the world’s top professional players with A-Level skills have already registered for the tournament, which is open until April 16 through the official website of FIP - www.padelfip.com.
The qualifying matches of the FIP Stars tournament will take place on April 21, and the main draw will start from April 22 with the men’s and women’s semis and finals taking place on April 24. The semifinals of the Golden Category and final of the Women’s Bronze category will take place on April 25, and the finals of the Men’s Bronze Category and Golden Category are scheduled for the following day.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council, the NAS Sports Tournament has been one of the top sporting attractions during the Holy Month of Ramadan since 2013, and the tournament is back for its eighth season this year with competition in three different sports - padel tennis, running and cycling. All three events are being organized in compliance with all COVID-19 precautionary measures and protocols, as well as other guidelines issued by relevant authorities.
Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai, Dubai Municipality and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services are the strategic partners for this year’s Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, while Dubai Duty Free, Pocari Sweat and TecnoTree have signed up as sponsors for the 8th season of the Tournament, which is one of the biggest events of its kind in terms of participation and prize money.
The NAS Run will take place across two nights with the 10km Race scheduled for Wednesday, April 28, and the 5km for Thursday, April 29, while the 75km NAS Cycling Championships will take place across three nights from April 22 to 24