The Japanese women’s team delighted their home crowds at the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball Asia-Pacific Championships in Chiba on Tuesday (10 December), claiming gold over China.
The win is Japan’s third consecutive title and puts them in a good position ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In a low-scoring tie, Japan kept their heads to reach a 2-1 victory.
They started well just over 10 seconds in to the first-half. Temma Yuki made her way across the goal before firing the ball past China’s Chunhua Wang and into the corner of the net.
Kakehata Eiko followed at 8:48 with a straight shot that ricocheted in off the post to give Japan a 2-0 lead.
The leaders kept their energy high but their advantage was cut in half at 3:20. China’s Miao Xu went for a quick return which caught Japan off guard. Xu’s attempt bounced off the feet of Eiko and over the back of Takahashi Rieko. Temma, on hearing the ball rolling slowly in the wrong direction, dived dramatically to try to keep it out of the net but it just squeaked over.
Neither team breached the goal during the rest of the match despite some great attempts. The buzzer sounded and Japan celebrated retaining their title from 2017.
China will also not be disappointed. As the hosts Japan have already qualified for Tokyo 2020 meaning their opponents secured the spot with their silver medal.
Wang also leaves as the women’s top scorer with 24 goals overall, proving she will be a formidable force next year.
In the bronze medal match, South Korea overcame Australia for their best ever finish at a regional Championships.
The tie delivered another one goal margin and little separated the teams across the match. Brodie Smith opened the scoring for Australia at 7:51 but less than a minute later Seonhwa Sim levelled things up.
Sim gave South Korea the lead with four minutes left in the first half before returning in the second to give them a two goal advantage.
Smith managed to find a way through just over half-way through the second period to keep Australia in the game, but the match ended 3-2.
In the men’s China won their fourth Asia-Pacific trophy and secured their tickets to Tokyo 2020 on a great day for goalball in the country.
Taking on Iran, China ended the first half with a three goal lead courtesy of a hat-trick from Mingyuan Yang without reply.
After the first whistle the Chinese did not relent. Yang added four more to his tally to bring his Championships total to 31 and finish as the top scorer.
Mingyao Hu also got in on the action with three of his own. It was Hu’s goal at 3:39 that brought China’s total to 10 and ended the match early.
Japan secured their second podium finish with bronze against South Korea. Six of their 11 goals came from Kaneko Kazuya.
South Korea’s Intae Jeong and Sungwook Hong netted their team’s five goals but could not match a Japanese team on the march on the day.
Full results can be found at https://www.gb-aprc.com/schedule
and on demand videos are available at IBSA’s YouTube channel.
The 2019 IBSA Goalball Asia-Pacific Championships took place at the Chiba Port Arena in the same city that will host goalball during next year’s Paralympics.
Seven men’s and six women’s teams played for the title across six days of competition.