Surprise Wins For Iran, Thailand On Second Day of Asian Water Polo Championships

by SwimSwam 0

March 23rd, 2023 Water Polo

Courtesy: Singapore Swimming

[SINGAPORE, 23 March 2023] – Dramatic penalty-shootout victories thrilled the crowd at the OCBC Aquatic Centre as both Iran and Thailand recorded upset victories in the men’s competition on the second day of the Asian Water Polo Championships.

Iran held reigning Asian Games champions Kazakhstan 10-10 in regulation before edging their opponents 5-4 in the resulting penalty shootout.

The win was even sweeter as Iran had lost 5-8 to the same opponents in last year’s edition of the Asian Championships.

Said Iran coach Danial Khakban: “It was a very hard game for us because we lost to Kazakhstan four months ago in Thailand. But my players put in a very hard-fought performance to get this great result for us.”

It was another nail-biter in the day’s final match as Thailand stunned hosts Singapore 4-2 in a penalty-shootout victory after both teams were tied 14-14 at the final buzzer.

The hosts looked favourites to notch their first win of the tournament as they took a 14-12 lead into the final minute of the match. But the Thais scored two quick goals and blocked Singapore’s goal-bound shot in the last second to force a shootout.

Thailand’s Phuriphong Sangthanapanich scoring the decisive penalty against Singapore’s captain Lee Kai Yang to give his side a memorable win. Photo credit Jia Xing/SSA

Substitute goalkeeper Chanoknan Kaewmanee was the star in the tie-breaker as he saved two of Singapore’s penalties to send the Thai bench and their supporters in the stands into ecstasy.

It was sweet revenge for Thailand as they had lost to Singapore on home soil during the Asian Championships in November.

It also sets up an intriguing battle ahead of May’s SEA Games.

Said Thai coach Boris Rustamov: “I am very happy that my team won today against a very strong Singapore team. For many years we didn’t win (beat Singapore) but this is the first time we’ve won. One and a half months left until the SEA games so this competition is good practice.”

Singapore coach Kan Aoyagi said that despite the defeat, there were positives.

He said: “Thailand played well, they have a good counter-attacking team and are very fit. We lost against them in the penalties but during the game, we didn’t fall behind and they didn’t score more than us. (Even) though we lost against Thailand in penalties, (it was) a good experience for us, for the SEA Games.”

The Singapore women’s team also had to endure a heart-breaking loss. Despite leading fancied Uzbekistan 9-8 with less than three minutes in the match, the host finally fell 11-10.

Said Singapore coach Luo Nan: “The girls did their best and presented a wonderful game for everyone. However, in the final stage of the competition, the team could not keep up the intensity of their early performance. We will need to work on having better control of the game.”

In the day’s other women’s match, Kazakhstan beat Thailand 16-10.

In the men’s other matches, Hong Kong edged out the Philippines 15-14 while China beat Uzbekistan 23-8.

The eight men and four women teams are competing to qualify for May’s World Aquatics Water Polo World Cup – Division 2 Qualifier in Berlin. Only the top four men’s and top two women’s teams will make the cut.

Please find the event photos in the Google Drive link here.

Tickets for the event range from $10 to $20. A bundle of four matches for the day is going at a discounted price of $30 per person. Tickets can be purchased at


Thailand vs Kazakhstan Uzbekistan vs Singapore
Score: 10 – 16 Score: 11 – 10
Player of the Match: Player of the Match:
Khritankova Viktoriya (Kazakshtan) Sokhibakhon Sayfidinnova (Uzbekistan)


Hong Kong, China vs Philippines Score: 15 – 14

Uzbekistan vs China

Score: 8 – 23

Player of the Match:

Cheng Hei Chun (Hong Kong, China)

Player of the Match:

Chen Yi Min (China)

Kazakhstan vs Iran

Score: 10-10 (Penalty Shootout: 4 – 5)

Player of the Match:

Hamed Khabanan (Iran)

Singapore vs Thailand

Score: 14 – 14 (Penalty Shootout: 2 – 4)

Player of the Match:

Pattanit Chompoosang (Thailand)

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