Bahrain wrapped up their historic campaign yesterday in the Asian pre-qualifiers for the Paris Olympic Games 2024 with a 79- 66 victory against India in both teams’ concluding game of the competition in Syria.
The contest was a mere formality and had little bearing on the Damascus event, as the Bahrainis had already secured first place on the final ranking, regardless of the outcome in their game against the Indians.
The nationals headed into the clash with an undefeated record in four outings, and had already secured their first-ever berth in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments for the Paris Olympics.
The result secured the Bahrainis’ place atop the pre-qualifiers’ final standings with a 5-0 win-loss record. India finished with a 2-3 mark. The Bahrainis had opened their pre-qualification campaign with a 15-point win, 89-74, over Saudi Arabia, before dominating Kazakhstan by 37, 104- 67.
They then dismantled hosts Syria by 31, 91-60, and then secured their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments place with a 23-point hammering, 95-72, of Indonesia. That paved the way for their non-bearing contest yesterday.
The nationals got off to a slow start and trailed 17-24 at the end of the first quarter. But they came alive in the second, and a Muzamil Ameer three-pointer tied the game at 32-all, before a Mustafa Hussain running jumper gave them the lead.
They built a comfortable 48-39 cushion heading into the half, with Ali Hussain scoring on a driving lay-up right before the quarter buzzer. The nationals never relinquished control from there and enjoyed leads as big as 22 points.
They ended the third period with a 70-51 advantage and cruised in the final canto with the win virtually secured. Muzamil Ameer spearheaded Bahrain with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Mustafa Hussain added 14 points.
Mohammed Buallay and Wayne Chism scored nine apiece, with Chism taking down 11 rebounds and posting seven blocked shots. Ali Hassan and Ali Jaber finished with eight points each.
Sahaij Pratap Sekhon paced India with 17 markers, while Aravind Annadurai had 11. In the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, the Bahrainis will be one of 24 leading national teams from around the world.
This field will be divided into four tournaments of six nations each, with each tournament being hosted by one of the participating federations. Bahrain will learn of their group in due course. The winners of each event will qualify for the Paris Olympics, where they will join host nation France, and seven others who will book their berths through this year’s FIBA Basketball World Bahrain’s Muzamil Ameer goes for a basket against India yesterday Cup 2023.