Pre-tournament favourites Qatar won the men’s 3x3 basketball gold medal in comfortable fashion at the Ashgabat 2017 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games yesterday.
With men’s snooker team too winning silver, the total medal count for Qatar has gone up to nine, including four gold, three silver and two bronze.
Qatar beat Iraq 22-12 in the 3x3 basketball final, after they downed Mongolia 15-14 in a nail-biting semi-final at the 3x3 Basketball Arena.
Tanguy Ngombo hit the winning basket at the buzzer to edge out Mongolia for a spot in the finale, before Erfan Saeed, the only survivor from the Qatari team that was crowned FIBA 3x3 World Championships winners in 2014, led his side to a 22-12 win in the final
Qatar won all six of their games in the tournament.
Saeed, 33, netted 11 points including three consecutive two pointers and the final basket which ended the game and clinched the gold medal for Qatar.
“We came here to win it all and we succeeded in our mission. We all are very happy to come back with the gold medal,” Saeed said after the win.
“I am the captain of this team and have lots of experience. Today I decided to shoot from outside rather than go inside, in order to avoid their big guy. It worked, I think,” he added. “I kept the best of myself for the end. Although we had to play two tough games in an evening we didn’t feel pressure and proved our confidence.”
Mongolia got the bronze medal after they beat Kyrgyzstan 21-11.
In the women’s tournament, emerging Uzbekistan seemed to be the favourites, but Thailand came up big to surprise everybody, beating the Uzbeks 22-20 in the final.
Turkmenistan won the bronze medal by beating the Syrian Arab Republic 15-12.
Qatar picked up the silver medal in the snooker team event after Iran made history with their first gold medal in Billiard Sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games with a 3-0 win in the final.
Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri dedicated the victory to his father, even as Qatar’s Ali al-Obaidli did not make any excuses, saying the team lacked focus.
“We did not play good or do anything in this match today. They played better and deserved it so fair enough,” al-Obaidli said after the final.
“We were not on it. We did not play our game, we were switched off. I had one chance in the first frame and I didn’t take it. They took their chances and we didn’t and that’s it.”
In the singles event, al-Obaidli bowed out in the Round of 32, while teammate Ahmed Saif advanced with a 4-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Shakirzhan Fazylov.
Saif’s Round of 16 opponent today is Pakistan’s Asjad Iqbal.
In the women’s Standard Individual chess event, Qatar’s Zhu Chen finished sixth with five points from seven rounds, even as China’s Tan Zhongyi and compatriot Lei Tingjie locked the top two spots.
In the men’s section, Mohamed al-Sayed finished 16th with four points, while compatriot Husein Aziz Nezad was 22nd with 3.5 points. Unbeaten Vietnamese Le Quang Liem won gold.
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