With their sights set on a historic medal, Iran men became the first team to enter the semi-finals of the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 here on Friday.
In a thrilling and high-intensity match, Iran pipped Germany 70-68 to enter the semi-finals for a second consecutive time after their appearance at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg.
The Iranian team displayed an amazing show of defense equally supported by their offense, led by their experienced stars Mohamadhassan Sayari (20 points) and Omid Hadiazhar (19 points) who were impressed with their shooting skills.
Iran’s head coach Mohammadreza Dastyar explained that the team had a mixture of newcomer and senior players with players from the U-23 team – Abolfazl Jalaei and Amirreza Ahmadi joining the senior team in Dubai and his thoughts on the game. He said:
“It was a great match; they played well with their defence and offence. They listened and executed the plans, analysed before Germany. Happy to get our third win over Germany. This was our target before the match.
“We trained for six months before this Championships.
“We have plans to get more players from my U-23 team. Some of my players are playing in Germany and Turkey, they will also return and then we choose the best players for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games.”
Netherlands, USA, GBR in top-4
Later, Netherlands and USA men joined Iran in the top four beating Canada and Australia in other exciting matches. While the Netherlands overcame Canada 68-53 after close third and fourth quarters, thanks to Mendel Op Den Orth’s 32-point show, the USA rallied to beat Australia 47-32 riding on Steve Serio’s efforts (14 points).
For the Netherlands, it was an emotional win as this is the first time, they have reached the semi-finals since the 2006 World Championships.
Later, defending champions Great Britain defeated Italy 72-44, with Gregg Warburton top scoring with 32 points.
Germany 68 – 70 Iran
Netherlands 68 – 53 Canada
Australia 32 – 47 USA
Great Britain 72 – 44
Men’s Semi-final line-up (to be played on Sunday 18 June)
12:15 | Men’s Semi-Final 1 |USA vs. Netherlands
16:45 | Men’s Semi-Final 2 | Iran vs. Great Britain
*All times are in local time.
Click here to find out more about the World Championships.
Text Credit: Priyanka Sharma / DCD
Picturs Credit: Yahya Essa / Mark Madrid/ DCD