The Qatar Master is scheduled to start today at the Aspire Park


Abdelaziz Khallouf and Tamer Abdelrasoul, the former GCC beach volleyball bronze medallists, are back on the court together.

The Qatari players have formed a third pair for the AVC Beach Tour Qatar Master, which is due to begin at the Aspire Park on Wednesday. After the technical committee meeting at 5 pm, the action will start at 7.30 pm at the two purpose-built courts.

Qatar’s other two teams are Olympians Jefferson Santos Pereira with Cherif Younousse, who won the Satun Pak Bara Open in Thailand last month, and Julio do Nascimento with Ahmed Tijan.

Twenty-four top teams from 13 Asian countries, which will be divided into eight pools, are contesting in the four-day event, organised jointly by the Qatar Volleyball Association with the Qatar Olympic Committee and Aspire Zone. The sponsors are Do Boer, OxygenEvents, Movenpick Hotel Al Aziziyah Doha and CSM Live. Al Kass TV is the media partner of the event.

The Qatar Master has assumed a great deal of significance as it is the last chance for the teams, aspiring to qualify for the World Beach Volleyball Championship, to be held in Vienna, Austria in July-August. Only four highest-ranked teams will secure the distinction of representing the Asia in the upcoming FIVB worlds.

Khallouf, who was reunited with Abdelrasoul after more than one and a half years, was visibly pleased to get a chance to play for Qatar.

“I’m really delighted to be back. During the national championships, we teamed up with different players but we’ve worked hard to be selected as a third pair for the Qatar Master, said the tall Khallouf.

Talking about the reasons that put him out of the action during this period, Khallouf said, “The previous coach (Pedro Pablo Costa) persisted with two pairs and we fell out of favour. Then also, Tamer got a leg injury. After the treatment, he went back to regular volleyball. After finishing his season recently, he came back to the beach volleyball.

“We owe this opportunity to the new coach (Mariano Baracetti), who changed the system and we are back. He brought together all the players and the Qatar Master gave us the first chance to prove ourselves once again.

“Compared to other two teams from Qatar, maybe we’re not that competition sharp as we’ve not played internationally together for some time. Whatever time we got to train together we pushed ourselves and now we feel we’re ready. We’ll try our best and see how far we can go in this event,” added Khallouf.

Pereira and Younousse had figured in the last FIVB World Beach Volleyball Championships in the Netherlands. They finished a creditable fifth in the 2015 event and then were ninth in the Rio Olympic Games last year.

The 2016 Kish Island Open champions began the Asian tour strongly and clinched the first tournament in Satun, Thailand. They were fifth in the Asian championships later in Songkhla, Thailand.

Do Nascimento and Tijan, the 2016 AVC Beach Continental Cup final winners, finished fourth in Satun and the Asians before landing a superb 9th place in the three-star Xiamen Open in China.