Dubai, UAE, May 24, 2018: Tunisian Azza Besbes believes she will be taking back a lot of positives from Dubai as she returns home from the 6th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament with the Women’s Sabre International gold.
A five-time African champion and winner of the sabre individual silver medal at last year’s World Fencing Championship in Leipzig, Besbes, 27, defeated Dutchwoman Marleen Buitenhuis 15-6 at the Nad Al Sheba Complex on Wednesday night to clinch gold. She had earlier duelled in the Foil Local third-place playoff, but lost 15-8 to Ashwaq Al Messabi of Baniyas. That loss, however, failed to dampen her spirits.
“Overall, it has been a great trip for me,” said Besbes, who was born in Abu Dhabi and lived here before moving to France to pursue her fencing dreams. “This is the off season for me, so it was great to come here from France and take part in a proper competition and, of course, enjoy this great atmosphere in this Holy Month of Ramadan.
“With the 2018 World Championships being held in China from July 19-27, this trip was the perfect opportunity for me to shake off some of rust and find my competitive groove. There is still a lot of work to be done until July, but winning the title here is a nice little boost.
“The target coming here was to put up a strong performance, so, overall, I can say that we have ticked most of the boxes on this trip.”
Latifa Al Hosani of Sharjah Women’s Sports Club won the gold in the Women’s Foil Local, defeating Shoug Hamad of Baniyas 15-5, and she was thrilled with her performance.
“For me, the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament is not just a Ramadan tournament, but a mini Olympics,” she said. “There are so many top fencers from different countries participating here, which means competition is tough and winning is a big achievement. That is why I am really happy to have done well and won the title.”
H.E. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the Founder and President of the UAE Fencing Federation, was also pleased with the level of competition in the NAS Fencing Championships and hailed the event as a success.
“Thanks to the generous support and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the NAS Sports Tournament keeps getting bigger and better every year,” said Sheikh Salem.
“This tournament is a badge of honour for us in the UAE because it brings stars like Azza Besbes, who is not just an Arab or regional champion but an international fencer of repute. Domestically, it brings new talents to the fore and helps promote the sport, taking fencing to a wider audience and encouraging greater participation.
“We hope participating in this second edition of NAS Fencing will serve to motivate our young Emirati fencers and will have contributing to the development of their skills.
“So as the UAE Fencing Federation, we are honoured to be a part of NAS and we are confident the next edition of the tournament will be even bigger and better than this.”
Meanwhile, defending champions Surprise took third place in the NAS Volleyball Championship, defeating Spinneys 3-1 in the bronze medal playoff, thanks to the brilliance of their Cuban ace Robertlandy Simon.
Simon, voted the Best Middle Blocker at last year’s FIVB Club World Championship, led the scoring charts with a game-high 34 points as Surprise won 30-28, 25-21, 19-25, 25-9.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the 2018 NAS Sports Tournament will see more than 5,000 athletes compete for a total prize-purse of Dh6 million in Dubai, across 11 competitions.
The tournament has also gone international this year with a five-a-side futsal competition taking place in the Egyptian capital Cairo and an eight-team volleyball tournament being held in Amman, Jordan.
Women's Saber International
Final: Azza Besbes (TUN) beat Marleen Buitenhuis (NED) 15-6; Third Place: Amira Ben Chaaban (TUN) beat Shoug Hamad (SUD) 15-11.
Women's Epee International
Final: Ewa Nelip (POL) beat Dmowska Andrzejuk 15-11; Third Place: Nardin Botrous (EGY) beat Aya Mahdy (EGY) 15-10.
Women's Foil Local
Final: Latifa Al Hosani (Sharjah WSC) beat Shoug Hamad (Baniyas) 15-5; Third Place: Ashwaq Al Messabi (Baniyas) beat Azza Besbes (Tunisia) 15-8.
Men's Epee International
Final: Randy Postma (NED) beat Mohammed Rezaei (IRI) 15-9; Third Place: Elmir Alimzhanov (KAZ) beat Mohammed Ali Keyhani (IRI) 15-10.
Men's Saber Local
Final: Ali Al Hammadi (Baniyas) beat Anas Al Nobani (Baniyas) 15-8; Third Place: Mohammed Rebai (SHC) beat Khalifa Al Ebri (SHC) 15-8.
Men's Foil Local
Final: Hamad Al Jallaf (Baniyas) beat Abdelrahman Haffour (Baniyas) 15-14; Third Place: Nahyan Al Azazi (Baniyas) beat Khalifa Al Zarooni (Baniyas) 15-13.