Asian Beach Handball: Oman off to a flying start
Oman outplayed Saudi Arabia 2-0 (16-12, 22-10) in the opening match of the seventh Asian Men's and Women's Beach Handball Championship, which began in the Chinese city of Weihai, on Saturday.
The 12-team event also serves as the qualifier for the IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championship in Italy 2020. Oman is placed in Group B along with Iran, Thailand, Pakistan, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Hamood al Hassani's men now meet Japan in the next match on Sunday. Oman has an impressive record at the Asian championship, having the honour of being crowned the champion in the first edition that was hosted in Muscat in 2004.It has been runner-up on four consecutive occasions since 2011, losing all the finals to Qatar.With five medals in six editions, Hassani's men will look forward to break the jinx in the final and also seal a berth in the worlds.
The top-three teams in China will advance to the worlds in Italy next year.Oman has been a regular at the beach handball worlds, having participated for the first time in 2004.
Since 2010, it has qualified for the world championships, with its best finish achieved in 2016 – a seventh place in Budapest, Hungary. Oman had also hosted the fifth edition of the IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championship at the Musannah Sports City in 2012. The men’s team had finished eighth.