BAHRAIN suffered a heartbreaking 26-27 defeat to Japan yesterday as they lost out on the bronze medals in the 19th Asian Men’s Handball Championship in Kuwait City.
The Bahrainis led 15-14 at half-time but could not hold on to their advantage the rest of the way.
Bahrain finished out of the medals for the first time in the last four editions having ended runners-up in the last three championships.
Qatar won each of those times and last night they made it four titles in a row beating South Korea 33-21 in the gold medal game.
All four teams in action yesterday also booked a place in the World Men’s Handball Championship to be held in Egypt next year. Bahrain have already booked a maiden berth in the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo later this year.
The UAE finished fifth, Iran sixth, Saudi Arabia seventh, Kuwait eighth, Iraq ninth, Hong Kong10th, China 11th, Australia 12th and New Zealand 13th.
Bahrain earlier topped Group ‘A’ with two wins from two matches in the preliminary round.
In the main round, the nationals finished as Group 1 runners-up behind Japan, to whom they lost 23-25 in another thriller.
But Bahrain bounced back beating Saudi Arabia 18-17 with a last second goal to book a berth in the semi-finals.
Bahrain squad: Hussain Mahfoodh, Ali Eid, Ali Mirza, Hassan Alsamahiji, Mohammed Abdul Redha, Ahmed Fadhul, Mohammed Mirza, Mohammed Ali, Bilal Askani, Abdulla Alzaimoor, Ahmed Almaqabi, Jassim Alsalatna, Hassan Al Fardan, Mahdi Saad, Mohammed Habib and team captain Hussain Al Sayyad.
Coach: Aron Kristjansson (Iceland).