By Sports Reporter /Doha
atar notched up their third straight victory in the Asian Olympic qualifiers, beating Saudi Arabia by a convincing 29-20 verdict at the Losail Hall yesterday.
It was once again a clinical performance from Valero Rivera’s three-times Asian champions who finished their group engagements with an all-win record. They had beaten Hong Kong in their first match before easing past India on Sunday.
Dr Thani al-Kuwari, Second Vice-President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Jassim Rashid al-Buainain, Secretary-General and Ahmed al-Shabi, the President of the Qatar Handball Association and other sports officials were present on the occasion.
World high jump champion Mutaz Barshim also attended the match to boost the Qatari team’s confidence.
Qatar began steadily and were soon up 7-3 as the Saudis found the going tough. Tactically, Qatar were much ahead with coach Rivera constantly urging them from the sidelines to raise their game.
Qatar goalkeeper Danijel Saric was one of the stars for his team, making several saves and frustrating the Saudi forwards no end.
The first half ended with Qatar leading 13-9, but there was no respite for the visitors in the second session too as Ahmed Madadi once again came up with a tremendous show.
A flurry of goals by him saw Qatar take a whopping 10-point lead (23-13) at one stage, leaving no doubt as to the outcome of the match.
“We were always confident about winning because we had the experience and the skills,” Madadi said after the match.
“It’s great to have three wins at a trot. Now we look forward to the semi-finals. We are confident of winning the tournament and achieve our dream of playing in the Olympics next year.”
Barshim, meanwhile, thanked the Qatar Handball Association for inviting him to the match.
“I was happy to receive a call asking me to watch the game. I am confident they will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” said Barshim, who himself will be aiming for a gold medal at the Games.
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