Today, a lot of things were decided on the Goalball courts of Hangzhou.
To begin the day and complete the pairings for the semifinal round, the final two pool matches were played. On the men's side, undefeated China and Iran would battle to a 10-10 tie, placing the Iranian men at the top of pool based on their point differential. On the women's side, we also saw two undefeated teams, China and Japan, battling for the top pool seed. In this game we'd see a winner as China defeated Japan, 3-1, in a tightly contested match.
In the afternoon, the competition moved into the semifinal round.
The first match was a women's match between #1 China and #4 Thailand. The young team from Thailand was no match for the experienced Chinese. At the half, China was up, 5-1. China continued to increase their lead in the second half, eventually winning the match 12-2.
The next semifnal match was between #1 seed Iran and #4 seed, Korea. This game was a real thriller. Iran jumped out to an early lead, but Korea each advance made by Iran, however with 28 seconds left in the match, Iran held on to a 4-3 lead. The final 28 seconds of play were a series of timeouts and substitutions, starting with Iran. At the 23 second mark, Korea also stopped the clock. Korea made a substitution at the 14 second mark and Iran took a final timeout at the 7 second point and sent Korea a slow ball when 1 second remained on the clock. Depriving Korea of a final opportunity to score, Iran won the match 4-3, advancing to the Gold medal match.
The next women's semifinal match (2 vs 3) was between Japan and Australia. In that match it was all Australia, who led at the half 3-1 and added 6 unopposed scores to their talley. Final score: Japan 9 - Australia 1.
The final semifinal game was the men's 2 versus 3 match between China and Japan. China dominated the match from beginning to end, finishing off Japan by a score of 11-2.
The championships will conclude tomorrow with the final matches.
- Women's Bronze: Australia - Thailand
- Men's Bronze: Japan - Korea
- Women's Gold: China - Japan
- Men's Gold: Iran - China
Both Chinese teams have earned qualification slots for the 2016 Paralympic Games through prior placement in the IBSA Goalball Paralympic Ranking Tournament. Tomorrow, we'll see if Japan (W) and Iran (M) will defeat the Chinese teams and earn their own Rio qualification slots--stay tuned!