Volleyball thrives in Ras al-Ain

Autumn Volleyball Tournament in Ras al-Ain – January 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Autumn Volleyball Tournament in Ras al-Ain – January 2024 (Enab Baladi)


Enab Baladi – Hassan Ibrahim

Volleyball enjoys popularity in the city of Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah, and garners attention, especially among youths, in the region controlled by the Turkey-backed Syrian Interim Government (SIG) since 2019.

The number of players affiliated with the sport in the city has exceeded 350 as of the current January, participating in teams within championships organized by the local council or through individual match arrangements.

Easy to learn

Samer Juma, a volleyball coach at the Directorate of Sports and Youth in Ras al-Ain, mentioned that the sport is encountering growing interest in the city. He attributed this to several factors, including the ease of play, suitability for all ages, and the existence of regulations and rules governing the game, including the laws of the game and competition.

Juma clarified that the game’s rules set the basic gameplay, such as the number of players on each side, how to play the ball, and how to score points. Additionally, the competition regulations define the rules for organizing tournaments and competitions in volleyball, including the conditions for participation, the match system, and how points are calculated.

Juma considered that these laws and rules ensure the game’s integrity and the players’ safety and contribute to stimulating players to engage in the sport.

Juma also mentioned that the directorate ensures a suitable sports environment for playing volleyball through establishing rules and laws, providing necessary support to athletes, and organizing local championships that help to stimulate interest and increase participation.

Autumn Volleyball Tournament in Ras al-Ain – January 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Autumn Volleyball Tournament in Ras al-Ain – January 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Passion for the game

Most people choose to engage in a sport over others, driven by an inner motivation coupled with their love for it and the joy they get while practicing.

Hassan al-Wasel, a player from al-Makran team, told Enab Baladi that he has loved volleyball since childhood, watching it on television, and what attracted him to it was that it is a team sport requiring cooperation between players and that it is easy to learn. It also demands physical fitness and motor skills.

Al-Wasel mentioned he feels happy when playing volleyball, noting that the joy of winning is extremely important to any player.

In turn, player Fayeq al-Ahmad, from the Sharqiya team, explained to Enab Baladi why he chose this sport: he loves competition and challenge and being part of a team striving to win.

Al-Ahmad is not inclined toward individual sports, expressing hope that volleyball in Ras al-Ain will receive more attention and support from relevant entities, enabling it to achieve further accomplishments.

More than 350 players

Marwan al-Qadi, the director of the Sports and Youth Office at the local council in Ras al-Ain, told Enab Baladi that the number of teams registered in the volleyball championship organized by the council reached 20, exceeding 350 players.

Al-Qadi attributed the increasing interest to the ease of learning the sport and the low costs of team establishment. He indicated that the office provides necessary support to athletes by supplying volleyballs, nets, and even clothing, with winners being honored through trophies, medals, and cash prizes.

Furthermore, al-Qadi emphasized that the directorate implements training programs for school students keen on mastering volleyball and other sports and mentioned that 2024 marks the third year for the volleyball championship in Ras al-Ain.

After the Syrian National Army (SNA) took control of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad in 2019 with Turkish support, sports activities started to flourish, including swimming, horse racing, football, volleyball, and karate, organized by the Directorate of Sports and Youth in Ras al-Ain.

The region witnessed the establishment of a sports stadium, a swimming pool, and a center for mind and intelligence games in 2021.

In November 2020, the Directorate of Sports and Youth organized the first volleyball championship named “Peace Spring,” in which 16 teams from the area participated, and the final match was between al-Amer and Umm Izam teams, with al-Amer winning three sets to none.

An overview of volleyball

Volleyball is a sport played on a court by two teams, each comprising six players.

It was initially called “Mintonette,” as it resembled the game of badminton.

The credit for inventing volleyball goes to William G. Morgan, the Director of Physical Education at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), who was a student at Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1895.

“Mintonette” (as it was then called) was designed to be a leisure game played indoors among the association’s older members, drawing some of its characteristics from other sports like tennis and handball.

The game revolves around throwing the ball over the net towards the opposite team’s side and making it fall within their court, without the opposing players being able to return it.

The players of a team are not permitted to touch the ball more than three times before sending it back to the opponents.

The attacking team scores a point when the ball lands on the opponent’s side or if the defending player makes a mistake.

To win a set, a team needs to score 25 points and lead by at least two points, noting that a team that wins three sets wins the match because volleyball matches are played in a best-of-five sets system.

If necessary, a decisive fifth set of 15 points is played (still maintaining the requirement of a two-point lead), and volleyball matches depend on sets rather than timed play.


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