Sports action update from the Golden Jubilee Games in Nairobi, Kenya.
The men's volleyball quarter finals offered a doubly exhilarating experience to fans this morning as two games took place side by side at Kasarani Stadium. On one court India took on the United States and on the other Pakistan faced the United Kingdom.
The first game between USA and India was a close match, with USA trailing by a few points throughout but prevailing at the end of the round with a two point lead. In the second game, India picked up momentum as their small but relentless cheer section chanted on. Taking the lead from the outset, India won 25-14, though the US players did not give up; each team took turns at scoring until the end. In the last game of the match, the fans of both teams were buzzing as the players applied all their energy and focus. At game point the US scored two final points before India claimed victory, 25-17.
Meanwhile, the battle between the UK and Pakistan was waging on the other side of the stadium. Pakistan won the first game with their fierce spikes and cheering fan base, 25-18. In the second round, the UK slowly picked up their game making it a close match until halfway through. However, after two games the match was over. Although UK played their best to the finish, team Pakistan and their fans cheered over their final victory 25-17.
Later in the day as the spectators shuffled around, four other teams took the stage. Canada A faced UAE while Canada B were matched against Syria A. The Canadian spectators were intensely focused on both games, one on either side of the stadium. Having both Canadian teams playing at the same time served as an advantage; the cheers were twice as frequent and twice as loud.
On the UAE side, the ‘Desert Warriors' started off with a big lead. Nevertheless, Canada's first place team picked up the lead halfway through the game bringing the score to 11-10. Their momentum continued, with the score climbing up to 22-16 and they finally won 25-17. The next game was won by UAE – Canada was down several points and for most of the game and though they started catching up at the end, they came short five points from the win.
The final game was close from the start. Pumped up by their cheering section, the Canadians took command towards the middle and led UAE 17-10. Canada A went on to prvevail, 25-19.
On the other side of the stadium, the infamous Syria A team made it a tough match for the Canada B team with their meticulous passes and merciless spikes. Between games, the Syrian team would stretch and perform push-ups and sit-ups to the awe of the spectators. According to Ashiq Damani, one of the spectators and a coach for the USA red team, “The Syrian team is like a well-oiled machine. One of the players, Hassan, told me that their team drinks a special Argentinean tea to make them stronger”.
However, in both games played, Canada persevered, holding their own with great skill and power. At the end of the first game the score was 25-10. In the next round Canada picked up momentum from the crowd and actually took the lead in the beginning with the score 5-3. After tying at 8 points, Syria took over. The final for the second game was a well earned 25-17 – a fantastic game.