TDT | manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
South Korea were crowned champions of the ninth Asian Men’s Handball Championship (U19) hosted by Bahrain last night.
The South Koreans clinched the title after beating Iran 26-22 in the final, which took place at Khalifa Sports City Arena in Isa Town. With the result, the winners secured a record third title in the competition’s history, adding to their previous victories in the 2005 and 2014 editions.
For Iran, it was their second silver medal. Their previous runner-up also came against South Korea in 2005. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia won the bronze medals, which edged Japan 26-25 in the third-place game.
It was the Saudis’ first-ever podium appearance at the tournament. After the final, the top three received their respective trophies at a prize giving and closing ceremony.
Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, Member of the Bahrain Olympic Committee and President of the Bahrain Table Tennis Association, and Ali Issa, President of the Bahrain Handball Association, were present to present the trophies and medals.
Apart from the team awards, accolades were also awarded to the best individual players in the competition. Eight received accolades for their play, including Bahraini player Jaffar Farsan, who won the best left-back award.
In last night’s final, the South Koreans got off to a good start and held on to a 14-11 lead before heading into the locker room. They then did enough in the final 30 minutes of the game to wrap up the win and the championship.
In Saudi Arabia’s narrow victory over Japan, Sajjad Alfardan scored the winner with just under two minutes to play to complete a remarkable late comeback for his side. The Saudis trailed 12-13 at the break and stayed behind for much of the half.
They faced a 16-21 deficit with 20 minutes left in the game, but then finished strong. They recovered to level the game at 24-all behind an Alfardan goal, then took the lead after Maitham Abusarer scored.
Masak Sakai leveled things one last time moments later, setting the stage for Alfardan’s late game heroics. Ahmed Alsaeed was the Saudis’ top scorer with five goals, and he was later named player of the game.
Alfardan, Abusarer and Hussain Furaij scored four goals each, while Sakai netted for Japan in their loss with eight goals.