Top Qatari pair, Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan made a good run at the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup 4-star, but in the battle for a spot in the semis they failed to convert a one-set advantage into victory, falling to Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner in an exciting tiebreaker.
Just two weeks after claiming their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold as a team, at the Doha 1-star, they had to settle for fifth place. Always aiming high, Cherif was unhappy with his performance in their last match on Thursday, but kept a positive outlook for a successful season ahead, which could include an appearance at the Olympics.
“Today we did not perform as well as we had been performing until now. It’s tough for us, because we won the 1-star and we know we could play better,” Cherif told Volleyball World as he was leaving the centre court. “Yesterday we played very well – our side-out was regular and our defence was working very well. Today, our blocks and defence were working fifty-fifty, especially the blocks... I feel that Tijan played very well, but on my side I feel that I did not play as I normally should. But nothing’s left. Tomorrow we continue...”
Just like all the players on the premises of the Katara Beach Cup, Cherif is excited about the resumption of the World Tour and the announcement of more Olympic-ranking events ahead of Tokyo 2020.
“We are happy to be back on Tour. We are going to rest a little bit, then go back to work and then go to Cancun. Hopefully, we are going to play better there and get some medals before the Olympics. Our team is much better now than we were in our first year together. We already had some good results, but there were a lot of issues to fix in our game plan. Now we are more mature and we understand the game better. I feel that we are improving a lot,” Cherif said.
Qualifying for the Olympic Games is, of course, the big goal, and Cherif and Ahmed have the confidence that they will play in Tokyo.
“We trust that we are going to qualify for the Olympics and we go to practice or the gym every day with the mindset that it’s possible and we can make it. We have the potential and we can do it. It’s no secret. For us, to have a successful season ahead means to make it to the Olympics. Otherwise, we would not consider it successful,” said Cherif.
For him, it would be the second Olympic appearance. At Rio 2016, he played with Jefferson Santos Pereira and finished ninth after two wins and two losses.
“For me, it’s very important to go back to the Olympics and perform better than I did at the previous Olympics,” Cherif added. “Yes, this time I am with a different partner, but it’s much better. I think we can do well at the Olympics and we are going for the medals.”
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