Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Youth beach handball coach Ghashghaei happy with Iran’s performance in world championship

June 22, 2022 - 19:22

TEHRAN - Mehdi Ghashghaei Rad, head coach of the Iran youth beach handball team, says that he believes Iran deserved to win the 2022 IHF Youth Beach Handball World Championship but did not get what they deserved.

Iranian youth players wrote their name into the history by winning the bronze medal of the World Championship in the Greek port city of Heraklion.

“We won the first international medal in the Iranian handball history, but the bronze was the least we deserved in this competition,” Ghashthaei said in his interview with Tehran Times.

More than two years ago, the current head coach of Iran U18 and his staff, along with the Iranian Handball Federation, started a project to develop Iranian beach handball. The project has worked successfully, and Iran's youth team is among the best in the world.

“Our players lacked the international experience, making the job difficult for us. However, we gradually progressed in the tournament and performed better game by game.

“Iran performed the most beautiful games in this competition. Against Brazil, in the semifinals, we lost on penalties while we had beaten them before 2-0 in the tournament.

“Penalty shootout always and in all sports depends entirely on luck, and we were unlucky against Brazil,” Ghashghaei added.

Iran defeated the U.S. 2-0, Qatar 2-0, Brazil and France 2-0 (two times) and lost to Sweden 2-0, Croatia 2-1, and Brazil (2-1) in the competition held in Greece.

The head coach spoke about the secrets behind the Iran youth team's success: “Fortunately, in the Iranian Beach Handball Association, there is coordination and unity among all members. The association's members suggested my presence in the youth team as the coach as I was working in the senior squad.

“The unity of the members and the support from the handball federation led to the development of a strong generation in beach handball, which will certainly bring great successes for Iranian handball in the next years," he concluded.

Iran's Ali Heidarian, meanwhile, finished the tournament with an individual recognition as he was named the best player in the pivot position, being picked up for the All-Star Team.

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