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June 2018, No. 87


Sports

Iran Makes History in
19th Asian Squash Team Championships

Iran’s national squash teams of men and women took part in the 19th Asian Squash Team Championships held at Cheongju, in South Korea, on March 21-25, 2018, where all the great and elite Asian  squash teams were present: 16 Asian men’s teams and 11 women’s teams.

The national squash teams attended the tournaments along with their entire Iranian non-playing staff including Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Sanaei (national team head coach), Masoud Ziauddini (coach), Fatemeh Sadat Heidari (Women’s coach), and Parvandeh Doulatizadeh (Women’s assistant coach) after a long-term planning was made since the beginning of the past Iranian year (started March 21, 2017), and projects implemented since October 2017 and by holding various calls and camps inside and outside the country.

The 7-week camp in Tehran and the 3-week camp held jointly with the Malaysian national team in the Malaysian capital city, Kuala Lumpur, prepared the grounds for the biggest surprise of the tournaments and a historic honor for the Iranian squash.

The women’s team of Iran, which previously had no winning record in its history and nobody took it seriously, managed to be among the top six teams of Asia for the first time with three valuable wins against teams from Singapore, Sri Lanka and the Republic of China.

Ghazal Sharafpour, Fereshteh Eqtedari, Hadis Farzad (captain) and Aily Nayyeri comprised the female players of the Iranian team in the tournaments.

The men’s team, placed in the group D of the tournaments along with teams from PRC, Thailand and Malaysia, managed to climb to the quarter-finals and be among the top eight teams by scoring two valuable wins against China and Thailand and a 2-1 defeat to Malaysia (one of the champions of the continent) in a 215-minute match. In the quarter-finals, Iran faced Japan.

The death and life game, the most fateful game in the history of the Iranian squash, kicked off at Cheongju Squash Stadium at 10 am on March 23. Japan won the first match 3-0.

In the second match, captain of the Iranian national squad, Navid Malek Sabet, faced his Japanese opponent.

While the result was 2-2 and in the final game he was behind his rival 10-8 and Japan only needed one point to win, the Iranian captain managed to change the result at the most breathtaking moments and win the fifth game 12-10 by maintaining his concentration and combat morale and carrying out the tactics instructed by the team head coach, Sanaei, and finish the match 3-2. As a result, competition between the two teams led to a third match.

In the third match, Alireza Shameli, while losing the first game, won three consecutive games so that ultimately the Iranian team beat the powerful Japanese rival 2-1 and created the biggest surprise of the tournaments and won a historical honor for the Iranian squash by being among the top four teams of Asia.

In the semi-finals, Iran faced Hong Kong, the number one seed of the tournaments and world’s third team, and in a breathtaking game lost to the Asian champion 2-0.

Hong Kong and Pakistan ranked first and second respectively, and Iran and Malaysia jointly won the third place.

Gaining the medal and the third title of Asian championship, which took place for the first time in the history of Iran’s squash and all rocket sports was so valuable and historic that all domestic and foreign media, including the ‘World Squash’ website covered it.

This achievement becomes more valuable when it is fulfilled by young and inexperienced players with facilities incomparable to those of their rivals, and only by relying on and trusting the knowledge of their coaches. It can be daringly said that bagging this medal was beyond the imagination of all.

The men’s team of Iran in these tournaments comprised Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Sanaei (head coach), Masoud Ziauddini (coach), Sajjad Zareian, Alireza Shameli, Navid Malek Sabet (captain) and Samiollah Qassedabadi.

Acquiring these historic titles, the National Iranian men’s and women’s team is going to attend the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.

 

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  June 2018
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