Bahrain getting geared up for Asian youth handball title-defence
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain’s youth national handball team are in their final days of preparation for their title-defence in the ninth Asian Men’s Youth (U19) Handball Championship, which is set to be hosted by the Kingdom from Saturday. The nationals are eyeing an historic “three-peat” in the competition, having won the tournament in its previous two editions in 2016 and 2018. The Bahrainis welcomed to their local training session yesterday morning Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) vice-president His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
He was received by Bahrain Handball Association (BHA) vice-president Majdi Mirza and BHA secretary general Khalid Al Najem along with other BHA officials. HH Shaikh Isa encouraged the Bahraini youngsters to do their best in the tournament and wished them the very best. Bahrain are one of 11 national teams set to take part in the continental event, which also acts as a qualifying competition for next year’s 10th International Handball Federation Men’s Youth World Championship.
Bahrain have been drawn in Group A for the tournament ’s preliminary round alongside Iran, India, South Korea and Uzbekistan. Group B features Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Iraq and Kuwait. Bahrain head coach Mohammed Al Maraghi has been preparing the national team with 19 players in training.
They include Ali Abdulkarim, Noah Sayed Redha Hashem, Mohammed Yousef Yaqoob, Ali Redha Hamadeh, Jaafar Abdulshaheed, Ahmed Taleb Ibrahim, Mohammed Abdulla Ayyad, Sayed Ali Al Wadaei, Sayed Hussain Al Muhafaza, Qassim Mirza, Elias Mohammed Ali, Hussain Al Haiki, Mohammed Hussain Shamloh, Sayed Mahmood Al Falahi, Ali Ahmed Al Madani, Mustafa Ahmed Al Shehabi, Mohammed Muqbal Al Marzooq, Hussain Majid Rabie and Abbas Hussain Abbas.
The Bahrainis are scheduled to begin their campaign on opening night against Uzbekistan. They then play South Korea the following evening, and then return to the court on August 24 against India following a two-day break. The nationals wrap up the preliminaries against Iran on August 26.
Following the opening round-robin phase, the top two from each group advance directly to the semi-finals, while the remaining teams will play in the classification games. Bahrain won the 2016 competition, also held in the Kingdom, after defeating Japan in the final. South Korea were the bronze-medallists. In 2018, the tournament was held in Amman, Jordan, and the nationals were once again triumphant, defeating their Japanese counterparts in the gold medal game. Chinese-Taipei finished third. Bahrain are tied with Qatar and South Korea with the most wins in the tournament at two apiece.