Farewell to the Asian Games: Kuwait Soccer Team’s Departure

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Bahrain qualify despite losing to South Korea

HANGZHOU, Sept 24: Kuwait bid farewell to the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, as they ended in a 1-1 draw against Thailand in third and final round of Group 5 competitions. The Olympic team secured fourth place with two points, on par with Bahrain and Thailand, while the South Korean team dominated the group with 9 points. Bahrain claimed second place despite a 0-3 loss to South Korea, while Thailand suffered a 0-4 defeat against South Korea.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Blue Team faced a 0-9 loss. Emilio Becks, the Portuguese coach of the Olympic Blue Team, made several lineup changes from the squad that faced Bahrain in the second round. This was primarily due to injuries to Abdulaziz Naji and Talal Al-Qaisi, as well as Salman Al-Awadi’s absence due to accumulated yellow cards. The match commenced with a lineup featuring Abdulaziz Al- Bahar, Sultan Al-Faraj, Youssef Al-Haqan, Khaled Sabah, Faisal Al-Shatti, Mohsen Fallah, Fahd Al- Fadli, Badr Al-Mutairi, Othman Al-Dosari, Hamad Al-Tuwaijri, and Fahd Al-Harbi.

The Thai national team displayed strength and took Kuwait by surprise with an early goal by Jakabong Sanmahon in the tenth minute. They capitalized on the lack of organization in our Olympic team’s defense and relied on their speed. Kuwait attempted to regroup, improve ball movement, and launch attacks on the opponent’s goal to level the score, but their efforts were unsuccessful. In the second half, the coaching staff introduced Fahd Al-Azmi in place of Othman Al-Dosari, leading to an overall improvement in the team’s performance.

Our Olympic team appeared more cohesive, and the players’ determination was evident. Later in the match, Bandar Al- Salama and Mohammed Al-Rashid substituted Fahd Al-Harbi and Badr Al-Mutairi, aiming to enhance the offensive aspect, especially considering that this result would not benefit our Olympic team. The advantage slightly favored the Blue Team, with our players successfully moving the ball better. Al-Salama attempted a long-range shot, but it was caught by the Thai goalkeeper (68). Fifteen minutes before the match’s conclusion, Faisal Al-Shatti was substituted due to an injury, and Abdulrahman Al-Dihani took his place. Subsequently, Fahd Al-Azmi, the substitute, was replaced by Badr Jamal. The Thai national team retreated to defend their goal, and our Blue Team failed to capitalize on this advantage.

However, Youssef Al- Haqan managed to score the equalizing goal for the Blue Team just two minutes before the end of the match. Despite their best efforts to secure a victory, our Blue Team’s endeavors proved unsuccessful. Meanwhile, our national handball team embarks on its journey at the nineteenth Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, with an early morning match against the Thai national team. This match is part of Group A competition, which also features the host team, China. Group A’s initial matches, in which our national team participated, commenced on Sunday with matchups against China and Thailand. In this tournament, participating teams are divided into four groups, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the main round. The main round consists of two groups, where the top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals.

The Blue Hand, as our handball team is known, aims to secure their first victory at the start of their journey in the tournament. This achievement would significantly boost the morale of the players as they strive to qualify and compete in the later stages. However, Faisal Siwan, the director of national teams at the Handball Federation, noted that many players on the national handball team are relatively inexperienced in international competitions. Additionally, several players, including Saif Al-Adwani, Fawaz Al-Mashari, Fawaz Al- Shammari, Mohammed Amer, and Abdulaziz Yassin, are nursing injuries, which could impact the performance of the Blue Hand, led by Algerian coach Saeed Hajazi. Siwan explained that the handball team is entering the Asian Games with a fresh outlook, aiming to build a strong team capable of competing effectively in the future. He also commended the players for their commitment to the coaching and administrative staff’s instructions during their preparation in Slovenia.

Regarding the match against the Thai national team today, Siwan acknowledged that the opening matches in any tournament are often challenging due to limited knowledge about the opponents. Nonetheless, he expressed confidence in the players and their abilities, affirming that they would fight until the final whistle. In the realm of Taekwondo and Boxing competitions, our national Taekwondo athlete, Ali Al-Morsheed, resumes his quest in the under-58kg category at the Asian Games. He faces Chinese opponent Jing Ki at 5 a.m. Coach Walid Al-Morsheed confirmed Ali Al- Morsheed’s readiness to compete and aims to qualify for the tournament’s final rounds to uphold Kuwait’s reputation. Meanwhile, Sara Al-Fuqhaan and Abdulrahman Al-Fadil are set to compete in the individual rowing event at 4 a.m. Swimmer Walid Abdulrazzaq seeks redemption after his elimination from the 100m freestyle by striving to qualify in the 50m freestyle race. The boxing national team commences their campaign, with Mansour Khalifa stepping into the ring for his first match in the under-51kg weight category against a Taipei opponent. Our national shooting team is determined to pass the qualifications and secure a spot in the finals of the 10m air rifle competition, with athletes Ali Al-Mutairi, Saud Al-Subeai, and Abdullah Al-Harbi leading the charge. In the realm of fencing matches, Ali Al-Nassar, our national foil category fencer, put up a spirited fight against the tenth-ranked Japanese player, Matsumaku, in the round of 16. Despite a lack of experience, Ali Al-Nassar showed promise initially but ultimately succumbed to the skilled Japanese fencer, resulting in his exit from the competition. Another member of our national fencing team, Ali Abbas, faced elimination in the preliminary rounds.

Ali Al-Nassar revealed that the preliminary rounds were fiercely competitive, and he advanced to the round of 16 thanks to the guidance of coach Saud Zamal. His qualification hinged on defeating his Vietnamese opponent with a score of 15-6, but his encounter with the tenth-ranked Japanese player, Matsumaku, highlighted the disparity in experience. Fencing team coach Saud Al- Zamal commended Ali Al-Nassar and Ali Abbas for their satisfactory technical performances in the preliminary rounds of the foil competition. Despite having opportunities to qualify for the finals, technical errors ultimately led to their elimination. In swimming, judo, and e-sports, our national swimming sensation, Walid Abdulrazzaq, faced elimination in the preliminary round after finishing fifth with a time of 50.03 seconds in the 100m freestyle competition.

The judo national team experienced tough luck, with Mishaal Al- Ali losing to Japanese player Kondo and Saud Al-Umairi succumbing to Filipino player Nakanuz in the preliminary round. On the e-sports front, player Mashari Al-Zafiri encountered disappointment against his Bahraini opponent, Al-Faqihi, losing with a score of 1-2 in the second round. Nonetheless, he had previously secured a place in the second round after defeating a player from the Palestinian team with a score of 2-1. In tennis, both players Issa Qabazard and Badr Al-Qahtani faced setbacks with scores of 0-2 against the Thai player Kaset Samerj and the Uzbek player Fomi in the singles matches. Additionally, they experienced defeat in the doubles match against the Uzbek team.”

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