Hosts India narrowly missed the chance to win a berth for the World qualifying round as they lost a nail-biting contest to Uzbekistan in the sixth Asian Women’s Youth Handball Championships at the IGI Stadium here on Tuesday.
Despite giving their best, India lost 22-24 in the qualification match of the continental event for fifth place. A top-five spot would have got India a passage into the global meet.
India started the contest on brisk pace, matching their rivals but it wasn’t their day. They trailed by a narrow margin of two points at the break (9-11).
The home team fought bravely in the second session too. At one point, they were on the verge of defeating the Uzbeks, but the opponents got the upper hand and were able to maintain the lead till the final whistle.
Meanwhile, defending champions South Korea dominated the first semifinal to beat Kazakhstan to enter the final, where they will meet Japan who defeated China in the second semifinal.
South Korea scored a 35-18 win over Kazakhstan. The speedy Koreans were no match for the Kazakhs, who weren’t able to cover the court quick enough.
In the second semifinal, Japan defeated their close rival China by a margin of 23-22 to enter final.
Japan took the lead in first half and score was 13-09 and they maintained the lead till the end, though both the teams fought for each and every point throughout the contest.
The match, however, boiled down to last 60 seconds, with Japan taking one point advantage (23-22). China took time-out, but it didn’t change the complexion of the game.
Japan sustained its lead to win passage into the final to set up title clash with South Korea.