Hassani’s men defeat Vietnam to set up another summit clash with Qatar in Asian championship

June 23, 2019

Oman team and officials celebrate their win over Vietnam in Weihai, China, on Saturday

Oman booked its spot in the ninth IHF World Men's and Women's Beach Handball Championship-2020 in Italy on Saturday after it defeated Vietnam 2-0 to enter the final of the Asian championship. 

In an entertaining semifinal of the seventh Asian Men's and Women's Beach Handball Championship at the Tianmu Resort Village in Zhang Jiachan Town of Weihai City in China's Shandong Province, Oman won 13-12, 18-16. It now takes on defending champion Qatar in the final on Monday.

Qatar beat Iran 2-0 in the other semifinal.Oman and Qatar has been involved in the past four summit clashes at the Asian championship and on Monday, it would be fifth successive title clash between the two nations with the past four titles going in Qatar's favour.Oman had won the inaugural edition of the Asian championship, way back in 2004.

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For Hamood al Hassani's men, it is a chance to redeem against its traditional rival on Monday after having a good tournament so far. It has lost only one out of the six matches it has played so far with the lone defeat coming in the penultimate Pool B game against Thailand.

However, Hassani's men produced sensational display to edge past Iran in a thriller (14-8, 14-17, 21-20) and top the pool for a semifinal date with Vietnam.

Speaking after guiding his team into the final, Hassani told Muscat Daily by phone from Weihai, “We are happy to have qualified for the worlds in Italy. It was our primary aim to seal the spot. This time only the Asian finalists were to advance.“It was a difficult campaign as we were in a very tough group, comprising Thailand, Pakistan and Iran. I thank my players for playing their hearts out against Vietnam today. It was a very tough semifinal.

Vietnam is a very experienced side.”The coach added, “It's double delight for us. Besides booking our spot in the beach handball worlds, we have also qualified for the ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar from October 12-16.”Talib al Balushi, the team manager, said, “We have made it to the final from the strongest group. We are ready for the final against Qatar and hopefully, we can beat them this time.”

Jaber Yaqoob al Balushi, a senior member of the team's coaching staff, said, “It is a matter of pride to book a place in the beach handball worlds for sixth successive time, starting from 2010. Oman had made its debut in the worlds in 2004 but failed to make it to the next two editions in 2006 and 2008.

“We then returned to the worlds in Antalya, Turkey, in 2010, and since then we have qualified in every edition of the worlds.”Oman's best-finish so far at the worlds has been a seventh-place in Budapest, Hungary, in 2016. At the last edition held in July 2018 in Kazan, Russia, Oman had finished tenth among the 16 participating nations.