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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Qatar grouped with China, Japan in Asian event

The Maroons, who won the last three editions of the meet, will start favourites in the 13-team event in January.
The Qatar National Team Will Start Favourites In The Asian Competition
The Qatar national team will start favourites in the Asian competition. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

For the last few years, Qatar’s national handball team has been going from strength to strength. Hence, it was a big shock and a wake-up call when the side crashed out of the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha last month.

Come January, the players will get a shot at redemption when they participate in the Asian Championship in Kuwait City, with the event serving as a qualification competition for the 2021 IHF World Championships in Egypt. The top four teams of the January 16 to 27 tournament will automatically qualify for the world event.

GROUPINGS

  • Group A
  • Bahrain
  • Iran
  • New Zealand
  • Group B
  • Qatar
  • Japan
  • China
  • Group C
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Australia
  • Group D
  • Kuwait
  • UAE
  • Hong Kong
  • Iraq

Qatar, who have won the last three Asian titles (2014, ’16, ’18), will start firm favourites. They are in Group B, alongside Japan and China. While Japan won the tournament’s first two editions in 1977 and ’79, China were runners-up in ’79 and 2000.

While the national team’s Spanish coach Valero Rivera did not wish to comment on the draw, Qatar Handball Association President Ahmed Mohammed Abdulrab Al Shaabi was more forthcoming.

“There’re no easy groups in the competition and we deeply respect our opponents. We’ll leave no stones unturned to ensure the team is ready for the event,” he told Inside Qatar.

Bahrain, who will compete in the ’20 Tokyo Olympics, are in Group A with Iran and New Zealand.

South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Australia are in Group C while Group D has the UAE, Hong Kong, Iraq and hosts Kuwait in it.