18 Mar. 2022
The 8th Asian Handball Federation (AHF) Men’s Asian Beach Handball Championship and 2nd AHF Men’s Asian Youth Beach Handball Championship will take place together in the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran, from 22 to 28 March 2022.
Both championships feature six teams and both will be played in a round-robin league format with the top two teams of the senior event and the top three teams of the youth event qualifying for their respective IHF Beach Handball World Championships this June in Greece.
Iran, India and Qatar are fielding teams in both championships, with the senior event also welcoming Oman, Vietnam and Philippines and the youth event welcoming Pakistan, Jordan and Afghanistan.
Qatar unbreakable in senior championship?
The senior championship will be the eighth edition of the event after it started back in 2004 and the second time Iran have hosted it, following the championships held in 2007 in Bandar Abbas.
Qatar have won the last five editions, including the most recent, the 12-team event held in 2019 in China, where they defeated Oman in the final 2-0.
The Qataris will be strong favourites to win again as they completed a perfect championship in 2019, not dropping a set on their way to gold. Oman will be hoping to do one better in 2022, having finished as runners-up to Qatar for the past five times. 2022 hosts Iran have grabbed bronze in the last two events.
The second edition for the youth
2022 marks just the second time that the AHF Men’s Asian Youth Beach Handball Championship has taken place, following its debut back in 2016 in Pattaya, Thailand.
Six years ago, the host nation won gold, followed by Chinese Taipei as runners-up and Pakistan as bronze medallists, with Iran coming in fourth and Qatar fifth. Thailand and Chinese Taipei would go on to represent Asia in both the 2017 IHF Men’s Youth (U17) Beach Handball World Championship and 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Also representing Asia at the World Championship in 2017 were Pakistan and their squad have been training hard for the Iranian event on the sand courts at the home of Pakistani handball – the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad – since the beginning of the year.
“We are in talks with Iran as we want a few practice games against them ahead of the event,” said Pakistan Handball Federation president Mohammad Shafiq to local media ahead of the event.
“After finalising the schedule with them, we would like to send our team three days before the event in order to get training.”
After a long break, back to action
The championships were initially due to be held in Bangkok, Thailand and subsequently Doha, Qatar, last year, but then moved again to Thailand, in Pattaya this year. However, due to a variety of issues and restrictions related to Covid-19, the events were moved to Iran, initially in Kish.
According to the AHF, due to the ‘non-availability of hotels and inadequate flight frequency,’ at the Kish Island venue, the championships were finally moved to Tehran.
The Asian Handball Federation has yet to announce the dates and hosts for this year’s editions of the AHF Women’s Asian Beach Handball Championship and the AHF Women’s Asian Youth Beach Handball Championship.
For more information on the continental championships, visit asianhandball.org.