The UAE men’s rugby team’s hopes of stamping their tickets to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics came to an end when they lost to Asian Games champion Japan in the Asian qualifiers in Osaka, Japan over the weekend.
After delivering some impressive performances with dominant wins over Singapore and Thailand the UAE lost 21-5 to Japan in the semifinal following their 3-0 defeat by China.
Japan, who had comprehensively beaten India and Korea but lost to China on day one, secured Olympic qualification.
China will join them in the men’s competition following their victory over the UAE in the third-place play-off.
Hong Kong China men’s bid to qualify for their first Olympics is not over, however, as the runners-up and third-place team will get another chance to book their place in Paris via the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in 2024.
In the men’s event, hosts France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Australia (through the World Rugby Sevens Series 2023) have booked their place along with six regional winners in Uruguay (South America), Ireland (Europe), USA (North America), Kenya (Africa), Samoa (Oceania) and now Japan.
In the women’s event New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and USA (qualifiers through the World Series) and hosts France, meanwhile, have been joined by Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Fiji and Japan.
The UAE team's Olympic journey commenced with a commanding 43-7 victory over Singapore. However, moments of joy were tinged with concern as the team lost one of its stars, player Emosi, for the next three matches due to a wrongful intervention in the first game.
In UAE’s second match, they continued to shine with a dominant 47-0 win over Thailand, confirming their readiness to compete at the highest levels.
With these results, UAE claimed the second spot (in Group B), and Captain Youssef Shaker, assistant coach of the UAE Rugby Team, expressed immense pride in the players' performance.
Only one team from the Asian continent directly qualifies for the Paris 2024 Olympics, while the second and third in the qualifiers proceed to the global playoff in Monaco next year.
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