IBSA Goalball Asia/Pacific – It has begun
Date: November 14, 2013
Day one of the 2013 IBSA Goalball Asia/Pacific Championships had a bit of everything; upsets, blow outs and exciting matches.
The opening match of the tournament was a thriller between Iran and Japan. Iran would had gone into this match as heavy favourites as quarter finalists from the 2012 London Paralympic Games. However, goalball in Japan is on the rise after their women’s team took gold in London and their boys’ team finished at the top place at the 2013 IBSA Goalball World Youth Championships.
The match started as expected, Iran taking the lead. They were up 2-0 before Japan settled into the match and found their rhythm. They clawed back and even took the lead. At 3-2 for Japan, Iran hit back again to level the scores. With two minutes to go, Japan scored the final goal of the match which gave them a 4-3 lead.
Next up on the men’s program was Australia against Mongolia. Australia has been on the world goalball stage for over three decades while Mongolia is just starting out. This was apparent because Australia won this match 10 goals to 0 half way through the first half.
The Chinese men followed the Aussie men with another overpowering performance. Unlike the previous mens match, this one started tight. The match begun with penalties but no one was able to capitalize on them. Half way through the first half China was leading by only 3-2 but then they moved up a gear and ran away with it. The match ended early in the second half.
Japan and Mongolia faced off in the final men’s match for the day. This was another 0-10 loss for Mongolia but they did improve on their first match. The first half was nearly played out and the Mongolians nearly scored. Sadly the ball hit the goal post but didn’t go in.
The women’s matches were a lot closer than those of their male counterparts.
Game one of the women’s competition was between Iran and Australia. Iran haven’t been competing internationally for long but within Iran they have a huge participation rate. Therefore it is only normal that they are able to produce a quality team and based on the result of their first match, it seems that they have done this. Iran were able to score one goal each half to take the match 2-0. The Aussies were lucky to get away with this score line because they made three penalties that they were able to save. Iran had also made one of their own but they also prevented the Aussies from scoring from this opportunity.
The second women’s match for the day was the replay of the final from the London 2012 Games; Japan versus China. This was a game with a defensive wall as strong as the Great Wall of China and neither team willing to make one small mistake. Both teams have enough respect for the other to know that one little mistake could result in the other making that one vital goal. This resulted in the match ending in a 0-0 draw.
The 0-0 result against China was not the only such result for Japan for the day. Australia tightened up their defense and also produced the same result as China against the current Paralympic champions.
China and Iran were able to score a few goals in their match. Most of these fell in the favour of the Chinese women. The score was already 5-1 at half time and this is how the match remained until the final buzzer. Iran had two opportunities to score from penalties in the match but the Chinese were able to block these.
Day two will feature the top mens match between the two current Paralympic quarter finalists of Iran and China in the men.
The women’s tournament will also have taken two of the gold medal match from London, China versus Japan. Only day two results will tell us if these two teams can be separated this time.
Japan 4 Iran 3
Australia 10 Mongolia 0
China 12 Thailand 2
Japan 10 Mongolia 0
Iran 2 Australia 0
China 0 Japan 0
Japan 0 Australia 0
China 5 Iran 1