BAHRAIN started their campaign in the 19th Asian Men’s Handball Championship in Kuwait yesterday with a resounding 45-16 victory over New Zealand in a Group ‘A’ fixture.
Bahrain, who were the losing finalists in the last three editions, got off to a flying start and led 21-8 by half-time.
Bahrain goalkeeper Mohammed Abdulhussein was declared the player-of-the-match for his stellar performance while Ali Eid was the top scorer with eight goals.
Bahrain, who have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics knocking out Qatar in a qualifying tournament in Doha last October, are looking for a maiden berth in the World Handball Championship to be held in Egypt next year with the four semi-finalist in this tournament guaranteed a berth.
In the 2018 edition in South Korea, Qatar beat Bahrain 33-31 in the final.
Bahrain next take on Iran tomorrow in Group ‘A’.
In the other matches yesterday, defending champions Qatar outplayed China 49-18 after leading 23-8 by half-time in Group ‘B while South Korea eased past Australia 40-20 in a Group ‘C’ clash.
In Group ‘D’, UAE outplayed Hong Kong 38-11 while Kuwait held off Iraq 25-22.
A total of 13 teams, divided into four groups, are competing in Kuwait. Group ‘B’ features China, Japan and Qatar.
Group ‘C’ includes Australia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea while Hong Kong, Iraq, the UAE and hosts Kuwait are in Group ‘D’.
The top two in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.
Bahrain squad: Hussein Al Sayyad (captain), Ali Mirza, Mohammed Habib Madan, Jassim Al Salatna, Ali Eid (all overseas-based players); Mohammed Abdul Hussein, Hassan Shehab, Mahdi Saad, Mohammed Mirza, Bilal Basham, Mohammed Habib, Hassan Al Samaheeji, Mohammed Abdul Redha, Mahmoud Hussein, Ahmed Al Maqabai, Ahmed Jalal, Abdulla Zaimour, Hussein Mahfoudh, and Abdulla Ali.
Coach: Aron Kristjansson (Iceland)
New Zealand's team preformed the haka dance before the game