Asian Women’s Championship: dominance by East Asia in polarized event

Iranian women's team, 'brilliant' against the real novices but too weak against other opponents.

Iranian women’s team, ‘brilliant’ against the real novices but too weak against other opponents.

With somewhat less media attention, Asia has carried out its women’s championship parallel to that of Europe. The event took place in Indonesia, and had a very large participation, including by some novice countries such as the home team and Kuwait. As expected, the top teams from East Asia dominated and obtained the three to places which qualify for the 2013 World Championships.

South Korea were impressive, beating China in the final with 40-22, after having beaten Kazakhstan by the score of 34-21 in the semifinal. Japan narrowly defeated Kazakhstan by 21-20 to capture the bronze and the remaining qualifying position, after having lost 25-28 to China in the semifinal. Kazakhstan had already lost earlier against Japan in the group play, just like China had lost against South Korea but with a much smaller margin. These four teams were totally dominant in group play, although the eventual 5th and 6th place teams, North Korea and Uzbekistan had shown a reasonable capacity.

Below those teams, Taipei and India had a ‘pivotal’ situation, being clobbered by the better teams but being able to take out their frustrations on the weaker teams at the bottom of the standings. Iran finished in 9th place, having lost four of their group games with the average score of 19-36. But their 53-4 win against Indonesia caused Iranian media to resort to euphoric statements about their team’s brilliant performance. Indeed, everything is relative! Kuwait, which of course has had a strong men’s team for many years, had their women’s team finish second from the bottom among the twelve teams. Their average result in group play was 4-62, so they obviously have a long way to go. So while it is nice to see a broadened participation, the enormous difference between top and bottom may be just a bit too much to be healthy and helpful.