(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Fawad Hussain |
Doha, Qatar: Qatar's Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan are just one win away from defending their Asian Games title after they outsmarted Kazakhstan's Sergey Bogatu and Dmitriy Yakovlev in the men's beach volleyball semi-final yesterday.
The top seeds won the first set comfortably 21-9 and overcame a tough fight from Kazakh team to claim the second set 21-19 in front of good number of spectators at Ningbo Banbianshan Beach Volleyball Centre in Ningbo.
In the final tomorrow, Younousse and Tijan – The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalists – will take on China's Ha Likejiang and Wu Jiaxin, who defeated Iran's Abbas Pourasgari and Alireza Aghajanighasab 26-24, 21-16 in the other semi-final.
“We are confident of defending our title,” said Qatar beach volleyball team manager Muhammad Anbar.
Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah removes empty shells from the gun during the skeet shooting event, yesterday.
“It was a tough semi-final particularly the second set but both the players remained determined to secure a place in the final. It will be a challenging final but we are looking forward to seal second consecutive gold medal at the Asian Games,” he added.
At Linping Sports Centre Gymnasium, men's volleyball team had to settle for a fourth finish after they went down fighting against Japan, who claimed bronze medal by winning the third place play-off 37–35, 25–22, 23–25, 25–23 after a marathon battle that lasted 2 hour and 8 minutes. Iran clinched gold in the event after defeating hosts China in the final.
Today, Al Annabi's skeet team will be hoping to earn Qatar's first medal in Hangzhou after a strong performance in the qualifying round. The team comprising Nasser Al Attiyah besides Al Athba brothers – Masoud and Rashid accumulated 218 points to finish the first stage in second place behind China, who led the opening day with a two-point lead yesterday.
Qatar's Mohammed Abbasher in action with a Thai player.
Al Attiyah, the London Olympics bronze medalist, also finished the individual skeet third after a score of 74 with Masoud and Rashid taking ninth and 11th positions respectively. Both the team and individual events are being held concurrently with second stage and final scheduled today.
Meanwhile, Qatar's women skeet team consisting of Reem Al Sharshani, Hajar Mohammed and Sarah Mohammed ended the first stage on fifth position after a combined score of 197.
Also yesterday, the 25m pistol event saw Qatar's Nasra Mohamud reeling at 38th position following the precision stage, with rapid stage scheduled today.
In 3x3 basketball, Qatar got off to a winning start after defeating Thailand 16-12. They will meet Kazakhstan today before playing against Cambodia on Friday.
In contrast, the national basketball team suffered 63-95 defeat to Japan in their first match.
Qatar athletics squad pose for a photograph.
In squash, Qatar slumped to back-to-back defeats in their Pool A games, losing to Pakistan 3-1 in their opening match with Abdulla Al Tamimi winning his tie.
Later, they were blanked by India 3-0. Qatar will now meet Nepal and Kuwait in their next pool games today, hoping to bounce back in the competition.
Elsewhere, Al Annabi swimmers Hamza Shaalan (400m medley) and Abdullah Al Khalidi (1500m freestyle) failed to reach the finals after clocking 4:57.99 secs and 17:21.61 secs respectively.
Handball team to meet South Korea
After winning their opening match against Hong Kong on Sunday, the national handball team will resume its title defence with a match against South Korea in Pool B today.
Both the teams will play to win the group after triumphant starts.
Qatar's Belal Abunabot smacks the ball during the bronze medal match against Japan. AFP
“South Korea game will be a difficult challenge as they are a good side. But we are prepared and our aim is to win every match to retain the gold medal,” Qatar team captain Ahmad Madadi said.
Also today, Qatar will face hosts China in Round of 16, eyeing a place in the quarter-finals of football event.
Al Annabi are yet to win a game in the competition but coach Ildio Vale believed his team can beat the home side if they will play up to potential.
“It will be a tough game but we can beat them by giving our best like we performed during the recent U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers where we won all our matches,” the coach said.
Track and field stars reach Hangzhou
Meanwhile, Qatar's track and field athletes reached Hangzhou to take part in athletics competitions, which will start on Friday.
The Al Annabi squad was based in Shanghai where they trained ahead of the Games.
Qatar players in action during a training session ahead of their football Round of 16 match against China.
Reigning Olympic champion Mutaz Barshim, who was to join the team in China, will lead Qatar charge and joining the three-time world champions high jumper will be hurdler Abdulrahman Samba and sprinter Femi Ogunode, who will take part in 200m and 400m races.
Ashraf Hussein, Ismail Dawood (400m), Abu Bakr Haydar (800m), Abdulrahman Saeed (1500m and 800m), Mohammed Al Garni (1500m and 5000m), Yaser Salem (3000m steeplechase and 5000m), Saif Al Din Abdul Salam (pole vault), Muaz Ibrahim (discus throw), Ahmed Al Seify, Ashraf Al Seify (hammer throw) and Bassem Hemeida (400m hurdles) are other members of the athletics squad.
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