Qatar win bronze with easy win over Saudi
Bahrain cruise to victory over South Korea, qualify for Tokyo Olympics.
Qatar defeated Saudi Arabia 31-21 to finish third in the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Al Duhail Indoor Arena on Saturday.
In the final, Bahrain beat South Korea 34-29 to book their tickets for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The winners trailed 13-15 at half-time.
South Korea will now play in another qualification tournament, featuring 2019 IHF World Championship runners-up Norway, seventh-placed Spain and Pan-American Games runners-up Chile in April, 2020.
Qatar rested most of their key players in the early stages of the third-place match. Ahmed Madadi, Rafael Capote, Youssef Benali, Mario Tomic and Anis stepped onto the court for the first time after 15 minutes.
Qatar, who until then struggled to maintain slender margins, suddenly opened up a five-goal lead at 11-6.
Saudi Arabia’s Abdulazeez Saeed, who attempted a free throw, hit the ball on Wajdi Sinen’s face and was shown a straight red just before the end of the first half. Qatar went into the break with a 16-12 advantage.
Saeed’s loss rattled Saudi Arabia, and they looked disorganised in the second half. Qatar, making the most of the situation, sped away to an eight-goal lead (20-12).
By the 55th, the writing was on the wall and Qatar finally won 31-21.
Madadi, who scored seven times, was Qatar’s top scorer. Benali (five) gave him ample support. With five goals, Ali Alibrahim was Saudi Arabia’s best player.
Qatar team manager Yousef Al Hail admitted the loss against Bahrain had affected his team.
“They were shattered after the semifinal loss and that told on their performance. But I’m happy they did what they had to do today,” he told Inside Qatar.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board, assess what went wrong and focus on defending our Asian title in Kuwait City in January, 2020,” he concluded.