Japan has become the fourth team to qualify for the men’s water polo tournament at the 2024 Olympic Games.
Japan secured its qualification berth by winning the gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou (China) and joined the earlier qualified teams – France (host), Hungary and Greece (the finalists of the 2023 World Championships).
The Japanese beat host China in the final (11:7) at the Hangzhou Games.
Both teams put up a strong defense at the start of the match, resulting in a low-scoring first quarter where only Japan managed to score. In the second quarter, Japan made a crucial advantage and headed into the second half leading 5:1. Early in the third, it streched the margin to five (6:1). China managed to reduce the gap to two goals late into the third period (5:7), but Japan replied with a 3:0 run to secure a safe 10:5 lead.
Yusuke Inaba led Japan’s attack with three goals. Seiya Adachi and Keigo Okaw added two each. Zhonggxian Chen scored three, and Zhangxin Hu and Chufeng Zhang two for China.
Kazakhstan beat Iran after a penalty shootout (10:9) in the bronze medal match.
Japan and China qualified for the 2023 World Championships in Doha
Last week, the Chinese women’s team won the gold at the Asian Games and qualified for the Paris Olympics.
Asian Games, men’s water polo tournament
Group stage, standings
Group A: China 9, Iran 6, 3. South Korea 3, Thailand 0.
Group B: Japan 9, Kazahstan 6, Thailand 3, Hong Kong 0.
Quarterfinals: Iran – Singapore 13:6, South Korea – Kazakhstan 8:15, China – Hong Kong 23:3, Thailand – Japan 2:23
Semifinals: Iran – Japan 11:18, Kazakhstan – China 13:14 (PSO 3:4)
Final: Japan – China 11:7 (1:0, 4:1, 4:4, 2:2)
Bronze medal match: Kazakhstan – Iran 10:9 (2:3, 2:1, 0:2, 3:1, PSO 3:2).
Final standings: 1. Japan, 2. China, 3. Kazakhstan, 4. Iran, 5. Singapore, 6. South Korea, 7. Hong Kong, 8. Thailand.
The eight berths for the men’s Olympic tournament are yet to be allocated: four teams will qualify from the World Championships, and the representatives of Europe, America, Australia and Africa.