16 Jan. 2020
The 19th AHF Men’s Asian Championship throws-off today (Thursday, 16 January) in Kuwait with 13 teams competing for the continental title and a spot at the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship in Egypt.
All 43 games will be played at the Saad Al-Abdullah sports arena in Kuwait City with the 13 nations divided into four groups as follows:
Group A: Bahrain (BRN), Iran (IRI), New Zealand (NZL)
Group B: Qatar (QAT), Japan (JPN), China (CHN)
Group C: Korea Republic (KOR), Saudi Arabia (KSA), Australia (AUS)
Group D: Kuwait (KUW), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong (HKG), Iraq (IRQ)
The four groups will see all teams play each other once, with the top two in each group moving on to two main round groups of four teams each. The top two teams in each of those groups will then face off in the semi-finals, the winners of which will compete for the Asian title.
All four teams in the semi-finals will have already booked their spot at Egypt 2021 and if Australia or New Zealand finish fifth or higher they will qualify through too. If either of the teams from Oceania finish in sixth place or lower, then that qualification place will be transferred to a wild card.
Qatar won the previous edition of the Men’s Asian Championship in 2018 in Korea. They defeated Bahrain 33:31 in the final – a repeat of the finals from 2014 and 2016 which saw Qatar beat Bahrain both times.
Bahrain got some sweet revenge though later in 2019, shocking the dominant Qataris in October when they defeated the host nation 34:29 in the AHF Men’s Asian Qualification Tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
You can follow all the action on the AHF Facebook page.
PHOTO: ASIAN HANDBALL FEDERATION