0735 GMT October 20, 2018
Iran won the top titles at the Asian women’s futsal and karate and men’s Greco-Roman wrestling events.
In the final showdown of the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship in the Thai capital of Bangkok, the defending champion Iran proved too strong for Nippon, beating the Japanese 5-2 in front of boisterous crowd.
With this victory, the Islamic Republic confirmed its status as the queen of Asian futsal.
A hat-trick by Sara Shirbeigi and further goals by tournament most valuable player Fereshteh Karimi and veteran Fahimeh Zarei sealed an outstanding victory for Shahrzad Mozafar’s side, which also won the inaugural title in Malaysia three years ago.
Japan had the better of goalless first half but failed to capitalize, before Iran produced a blistering scoring burst that included three goals in two second-half minutes, to take the game away from Kenichiro Kogure’s side.
Masami Kato had two shots in the first six minutes, before Mika Eguchi forced Iranian goalkeeper Farzaneh Tavassoli into an excellent save six minutes later, and volleyed over the crossbar after tricking her way into space not long after.
The player who had arguably done the most to get Japan to the final, four-time player of the match Anna Amishiro, hit the side netting in the 18th minute before Tavassoli made another fine save to deny Misato Komura a minute later. Despite spending extended periods under pressure, Iran looked as though it might take a halftime lead when Shirbeigi ran right through the Japanese in the dying seconds, only for Eguchi’s last-ditch defending to snuff out the chance.
It took less than 30 seconds for Ryo Egawa to force Tavassoli into another save, and less than two minutes for Shirbeigi to blast her effort over the crossbar as the battle intensified at the start of the second half.
Zarei looked certain to put Iran in front in the 24th minute, but failed to make contact with the ball with the goal at her mercy. Then, she watched as Seyyedeh Nastaran Moqimidarzi’s follow-up flew harmlessly over the crossbar.
Iran’s breakthrough came in the 27th minute when a lighting fast counterattack drew Ayaka Yamamoto out of position, before Moqimidarzi rounded the Japanese goalkeeper and kept her cool to find Shirbeigi whose one-touch finish made it 1-0 from close range.
Having scored the winning goal in the final three years ago, Karimi made her mark on the 2018 final when she scored directly from a kick-in with the help of a Komura deflection at the half-hour mark.
That signaled the start of an Iranian goal-rush as Karimi set up Shirbeigi to make it 3-0 just seconds later, and three became four when Shirbeigi completed a magnificent hat-trick by scoring another in the following minute.
The goal also brought Shirbeigi level with teammate Fatemeh E’tedadi as the tournament’s top scorer with nine.
Japan head coach Kencihiro called a timeout, and his side reemerged in a power play formation, which paid immediate dividends when Eguchi finally got a reward for constant goal threat to make it 4-1.
Not content with her goals, Shirbeigi turned provider to set up Zarei, who masterfully flicked the ball past Yamamoto, for one of the goals of the tournament in the 36th minute.
Amishiro scored her ninth goal of the tournament in the final minute to create a three-way tie in the race for the tournament’s top scorer, but it had little bearing on the final outcome as Iran celebrated a wonderful win.
Iran’s U-21 women Karatekas won two golds, one silver and a bronze to jointly claim the title with host Japan on Saturday at 2018 17th AKF (Asian Karatedo Federation) Cadet, Junior and U-21 Championships held.
Fatemeh Khonakdar (-53kg) and Negin Altooni (+59kg) won the gold medals. Mobina Heidari (-59) and Hadiseh Jamali (individual kata) received silver and bronze, respectively.
Meanwhile, Iran’s U-21 men karatekas failed to put in a convincing performance and their medal tally of two silvers and two bronzes did not earn their team a place in the tournament.
On Friday, as part of the same competitions, Iran’s cadet team was crowned champion, while country’s Iranian girls finished runner-up.
Being held in Okinawa, Japan, the tournament comes to an end today. It kicked off on May 10.
Iran’s junior Greco-Roman wrestlers were crowned champion at 2018 Cadet Asian Championships in Uzbekistan.
The young Iranian sportsmen notched up 180 points to stand atop the podium by a wide margin in the team division of the tournament in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. They had collected four gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
They were followed by representatives from Kazakhstan, who tallied 138 points to finish runner-up.
Wrestlers from Uzbekistan and India finished in third and fourth places with 135 and 119 points, respectively.
Iran’s Amirreza Dehbozorgi claimed the gold medal in the 45kg class after defeating Akyikat Kulzhigit Uulu from Kyrgyzstan.
Aslamdzhon Azizov from Tajikistan and Kazakhstan’s Maksat Yermanov shared the bronze medal.
In the 48kg final bout, Sajjad Abbaspour overcame Iskhar Kurbayev from Kazakhstan.
Japanese Taiga Onishi and Abror Atabaev from Uzbekistan jointly won the bronze medal.
Mohammad Nosrati also snatched a gold medal for the Islamic Republic of Iran after outmuscling Indian wrestler Kumar Nitesh in the final competition of the 92kg weight division.
South Korean contestant Minho Lee and Uzbekistan’s Abrorbek Nurmkhammedov claimed the bronze medal jointly.
In the 60kg weight class, Iran’s Shahin Badaghi failed to prevail over Asilbek Nematov from Uzbekistan and claimed a silver medal.
The bronze medal went to Kyrgyz athlete Elmirbek Sadyrov and Japanese wrestler Kosei Takeshita.
Iranian cadet wrestler Amirhossein Khounsari bagged a bronze medal in the 55kg category.
Din Mukhamed from Kazakhstan won the gold medal after defeating Uzbek rival Amirbek Sultonov in the final contest.
Iran’s Mohammadreza Eisa Abdian also got a bronze in the 110kg weight division.
Sungjun Eun from South Korea beat Uzbek opponent Mukhammadali Saydullaev and received the gold medal.
The Asian Championships started on May 10, and will conclude today.