(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The 2016 Beach Touch Rugby Challenge was held on Tuesday at Katara beach no.4.
With strong winds and varying temperatures, the challenge was very testing for all sixteen (16) teams but it was the Camels national team that added another trophy to their collection by winning the 'NSD - Beach Touch Rugby Challenge' on Tuesday evening in front of hundreds of screaming fans after downing the youthful and energetic Al Khor 3-2 in extra time.
Both teams went into the Cup final undefeated, tired and sore from their previous six gruelling matches on the sand. The Camels lead by the Fijian connection were first to score but enjoyment was short lived when Al Khor's youthful determination saw them reply immediately afterwards. Both teams desperately tried to outwit and manoeuver each other however, half time beat them leaving the scores deadlocked 1-1.
The second half was played at a furious pace and again it was the Camels who drew first blood taking the lead 2-1. With time running out for the bay boys of Al Khor they drove rapid settles at the Camels to be finally rewarded with a diving try to level the score 2-2 just before full time.
The scene was set for a thriller in extra time as the young boys took it to the Fijian internationals. They threw everything at the Camels who in one motion turned defence into attack scoring a Golden try ending Al Khor's dream run. The win to the Camels leaves them undefeated on Qatar soil in any rugby competition. The 3-2 victory also makes the Camels - Qatar's Beach Touch Rugby Champions for 2016.
Earlier in the day, a very sporty looking QRF President Yousef al-Kuwari opened up proceedings welcoming all teams and their huge supporter base. "I wish to thank you all for your attendance and willing to participate in our first National Sport Day's beach touch event. Sport in particular rugby fosters courage, health, fitness, team building and togetherness. It gives me great pleasure to look around this morning and see players and fans from various countries and backgrounds. That's what our sport, rugby is about."
The WOQOD sponsored beach challenge attracted 160 players from 16 teams including squads from the current national Sevens Rugby championship such as Camels 1 & 2, Al Khor, CNAQ and the Blue Falcons. The competition also appealed to corporate and business squads like WOQOD, the Katara Eagles and the Doha Chiefs.
All year round touch rugby squads such as the Hurricanes, the Storm, Doha Greens and the Wu Touch Clan returned for their second year while new entrants from schools such as Sherborne and Dukhan could not resist the temptation of playing in the biggest Touch Rugby challenge and against the National Rugby team.
The competition presented by QRF was a huge success according to al-Kuwari, who spoke to the media after the match. He said, "QRF officials and organisers did an outstanding job promoting and presenting the competition. We played 300 minutes of Beach Touch Rugby, that's 5 hours of non-stop rugby action. We entered 12 teams initially and 16 turned up to play so we altered our schedule. We couldn't reject anyone wanting to play sport on NSD. As for the crowds it peaked at 1,000 just before 3.00pm. This included spectators, families and friends all who seemed to enjoy the Karata beach atmosphere and wanting to watch the last finals".
Al-Kuwari later praised Katara and the CEO Dr Khalid al-Sulaiti saying "The ongoing strong support and endorsement by His Excellency, Dr Khalid al-Sulaiti should not be overlooked, he and his committee have done a tremendous job in organising all the activities and affording us the space and logistics to hold such a successful event".
QRF General Secretary Ali al-Malki said, "What a fantastic day on the beach. Thanks to all our partners especially to Katara and WOQOD who played empathic supporting roles to make today happen. QRF is proud to be part of the NSD celebration and hopes to make Beach Touch Rugby an annual event on our sports calendar".
With schools entering the competition for the first time and others wanting a crack at the Fijian connection al-Malki said, "It was very exciting to watch the other teams and school kids wanting to challenge our Camels National team. Credit goes to the Sherborne and Dukhan schools for their great feats today. As for Al Khor, their young ones are full of energy and skill. I think they can run all day. They gave us a little fright well done to them and to all the participants and their supporters".
QRF Senior Coordinator Samuel Rico was delighted by the turn out and expressed his gratitude to all participating teams saying. "I was so happy to see so many people wanting to be active on NSD. Achievement today was not only on the pitch. Match conditions such the sun, wind, sand and time are battles within themselves. They played five gruelling hours of beach rugby things couldn't be any better".
Rico paid tribute to the personalities and sponsors saying, "On behalf the QRF I wish to express my gratitude to Katara's Events Director Adel al-Ansari and beach Manager Mihai Paunescu for their professionalism and outstanding work. A special thanks to our catering partners Nandos and candy friends Tasmeem. IEC once again proved their worth as media partners while the biggest credit must go out to our main sponsors WOQOD and in particular WOQOD's PR Chief Sheikha Sara al-Thani who attended the beach challenge with great enthusiasm".
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