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Bahrain readies for 2017 Boys’ U19 World Championship

 
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 28, 2016 - The eyes of the volleyball world will be back on Bahrain from August 18 to 27, when the kingdom in the Persian Gulf will host the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship – one of the biggest volleyball events in the country’s history.

In total, 20 teams will qualify for the World Championship, including six from the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV), four from the North, Central American and Caribbean (NORCECA) and Asian Confederations (AVC), three from South America (CSV) and two from Africa (CAVB). They will join hosts Bahrain, who qualify automatically for the competition.



Volleyball enjoys a tradition dating back almost 100 years in Bahrain. The sport began to grow in popularity in physical education classes back in 1919. The availability and simplicity of the equipment required for the sport was a crucial factor in its growth in Bahrain schools.

The Bahrain Volleyball Association was formed on December 19, 1974 and joined the Arab Volleyball Organization (AVO) in 1975. It is regarded as one of the founders of the AVO.

Since 1976, the country has been a member of the Asian Volleyball Federation. It was also affiliated to the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) in 1976. In 1985, Bahrain inaugurated an FIVB volleyball development centre and has housed the headquarters of the AVO since 1991.



Even in the early years, the island state proved to be a great organiser of major events – particularly on the continental scene. The capital, Manama, staged the second Asia Men’s Volleyball Championship in 1979. The hosts finished 14th, in the first of the nine appearances for the men’s team in continental championships. The best result so far was an eighth place in 1987. Bahrain finished twelfth in the last two editions of the competition in 2013 and 2015.

Bahrain has also made a name for itself as an organiser of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. The event was held in Bahrain in 1987 – and was a spectacular success. An enormous crowd packed the Juffair Dome for the final between Korea and Cuba (3-2); hundreds of would-be spectators were turned away because tickets were sold out. There was considerable satisfaction for Bahrain, who finished eighth to claim the best result ever by an Arab team. With constant support from an enthusiastic public, the home team showed significant technical and tactical improvement, especially in basic back-line skills. Indeed, the national favourite, Adbulla Saad, was named best defensive player.

Bahrain staged the Men’s U21 World Championship for the second time in 1997. Poland won the final to be crowned world champions, while the hosts produced another strong performance to finish ninth.

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And next year - twenty years after the U21 World Championship in 1997 -  a major international volleyball event will return to Bahrain. This time it is the FIVB Volleyball U19 World Championship, which will visit the country for the first time. Bahrain has appeared in this championship just once in the past, finishing eleventh in 1991. The hosts are obviously out to impress again this time – the fans are sure to flock to the venues in Riffa and Isa Town.

The 2017 Boys' U19 World Championship will be the 15th edition of the competition, which first took place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in 1989. Poland claimed gold in 2015. Brazil have won the title a record six times. The next championship in Bahrain, which is well-known as a host of Formula 1 events, will write a new story and underline one important fact again: volleyball is an important sport in the country. The Boys' U19 World Championship will be the biggest highlight in two decades.

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