?Bahrain yesterday (November 17) were ensured a place in the handball competition semi-finals at the Fourth Asian Beach Games, being held in Phuket.
The national team clinched their fourth straight victory in the tournament, beating Bangladesh 2-0 (24-14, 21-9) in their penultimate Group ‘B’ clash at the Saphan Hin beach.
The nationals, being coached by national tactician Khalid Al Hiddi, stamped authority in this two halves game of 10 minutes each.
Mohamed Ahmed was at peak form against Bangladesh and scored seven goals from eight attempts. He was well assisted by Mahmood Mahdi (4 goals), Bilal Askani, Fahad Mohamed and Jaafar Mohamed (3 each), Jaffar Hasan (2) and Husain Al Qaidoom (1).
Bahrain’s fifth and concluding game in the group is scheduled for today (November 19) against Pakistan. This match, which tips off at 1pm (Bahrain time).
The beach handball tournament features 11 teams in total. They were drawn into two groups, with each group winners and runners-up reaching the semi-finals knock-out stage.
Bahrain also sent seven other sports teams for the 10-day continental gathering. They are beach football, beach volleyball, athletics, sailing, swimming, triathlon and weightlifting.
In the beach football event, Bahrain crashed out of the competition despite a 3-2 (5-5) penalty shoot-out victory over China in Group ‘D’ on Saphan Hin beach. It was the first win for Bahrain, having lost their opener 3-4 to Uzbekistan on Monday.
The Chinese started the game well and were ahead 3-0 at the end of the first period. Bahrain gradually came back and reduced the deficit to 2-3 with goals from Mohamed Ashoor and Isa Al Doseri. Chinese regained momentum and fired twice to go up 5-2, but goals from Isa Al Doseri, Abdulla Al Abdulla and Ebrahim Al Mughawi saw Bahrain level the scores at 5-5 and take the game towards penalty shoot-outs.
China, who defeated Uzbekistan 4-2 in the group inaugural game, qualified for the quarter-finals as group winners along with second-placers Uzbekistan.
On the third day of the beach volleyball championship, being held at Karon Central Beach, Bahrain ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams bagged their maiden wins in the group stages.
Ali Marhoon and Hasan Qarqoor of Bahrain ‘A’ defeated Iran’s Iman Karaminezhad and Abdolhamed Mirzaali 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-12) in their penultimate Group ‘E’ match. Their fourth and concluding game will be played tomorrow (November 20) against Afghanistan.
Bahrain ‘B’ of Sadeq Al Mohsin and Mohamed Hammad followed suit, defeating Turkmenistan pair of Dovietmyrat Halyyev and Ezizmyrat Gayyapov 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) in Group ‘D’. The Bahraini tandem face the Maldives pair in their preliminary stage last game tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Abdulla Janahi hopes to improve on his overall standing in the Laser Standard class today when the third day of sailing is scheduled.
Janahi is presently in fifth place with 27 net points, 18 points behind leader Huichao Chen of China. Ebrahim Al Doseri, another Bahrain in the same class, is in ninth place with 40 points.
In the other classes, Khaled Showaiter gets back into action in the optimist class, in which he is presently holding 12th place with 54 points, while the team of Muhanna Al Doseri and Mustafa Janahi hope to move up in the Hobie 16 Open Series standings, where they occupy sixth position with 32 points.