Bahrain dominate handball opener
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain were dominant yesterday as they got their men’s handball medal bid underway at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, with a 45-22 win over Kazakhstan.
The one-sided result in Group C of the preliminary round virtually assured the Bahrainis’ place in the competition’s next stage.
Bahrain’s delegation head at the Hangzhou Asiad and Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) vice-president His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa attended the contest.
He was accompanied by BOC secretary general Faris Al Kooheji, Bahrain Handball Association president Ali Issa, Bahrain’s chef de mission at the Asian Games Ahmed Abdulghaffar, and other officials. The nationals were the aggressors in both halves, taking a 22-11 lead heading into the break and never letting up over the final 30 minutes.
Qassim Qambar finished as Bahrain’s top scorer with seven goals, while Mahdi Saad added six. Hassan Mirza, Mohammed Habib and Ahmed Fadhel finished with five goals each, and skipper Hussain Al Sayyad contributed four.
Hassan Al Samaheeji and Ali Mirza scored three goals apiece, while Mohammed Mirza and Mohammed Habib Ahmed had two each.
The Bahrainis’ scorers were rounded off by Mohammed Rabea, Mohammed Abdulredha and Hassan Madan, all with one conversion.
Goalkeepers Mohammed Abdulhussain and Hesham Issa also had fine efforts, making nine and five saves, respectively. For the Kazakhs, Artyom Melnichenko was their top scorer with seven goals.
Bahrain are coached by Aron Kristjansson from Iceland, who guided the national team to the silver medals at the 2018 edition of the Asian Games held in Indonesia.
The Bahrainis return to action only on Wednesday for their second Group C assignment against Uzbekistan.
There are 13 nations in all for the men’s handball tournament in Hangzhou.
They have been divided into four groups for the preliminary round. Group A features China, Kuwait and Thailand; Group B comprises Qatar, South Korea and Hong Kong; and Group D includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mongolia and Japan.
Following the group phase, the top two teams from each pool move on to the main round, where the eight squads will once again be divided into two pools for another single round-robin from 29 September to 1 October.
That will determine the four semi-finalists, who will clash on 3 October; which will in turn set up the bronze and gold medal games on 5 October.
Bahrain’s runner-up finish at the previous edition of the Asian Games made it two successive podium appearances for the nationals.
In the 2014 Asiad in Incheon, South Korea, the Bahrainis finished third overall for the bronze.