Thailand have won the Asian U20s in Kathmandu
Asia’s U20 championship has been a near annual event since 2015, but they remain the only region to organise such a competition, in addition to an U18s (which will take place in Taiwan at the end of September).
Neither the reigning champions (UAE) nor last year’s runners-up (India) returned, making this a four-team event featuring Thailand (3rd last year in Yangiabad), Hong Kong (2019 champions, returning for the first time since COVID), Malysia (5th last year), and Nepal (making their U20 debut).
Unusually the tournament consisted of all four-team playing each other twice - once on Saturday, once on Sunday – with no playoff games or final.
Hong Kong were top of the pool after the first day, winning all three games despite a valiant performance from Malaysia who came within two points of a first ever win against the SAR at this level. The also beat Thailand, but the Thais were more decisive winners against Malaysia and Nepal, which would be important on the next day.
Matches on Day 2 took place in the same order as on Day 1, so the key game in competition came in the fifth round where Thailand reversed the result of their meeting with Hong Kong on Day 1.
This put Thailand on top of the pool for the first time going into the final round, 20 points ahead of Hong Kong. They played first, beating Nepal 36-0 which meant that Hong Kong needed to beat Malaysia by a margin of over 56 points in the final game.
Hong Kong threw everything they could into the game but could only win by 50-7, giving the title to Thailand.
Thailand 17-7 Malaysia; Nepal 5-34 Hong Kong; Nepal 0-24 Malaysia; Thailand 7-12 Hong Kong; Nepal 0-45 Thailand; Malaysia 17-19 Hong Kong; Nepal 0-34 Hong Kong; Thailand 26-0 Malaysia; Nepal 0-26 Malaysia; Thailand 19-12 Hong Kong; Nepal 0-36 Thailand; Malaysia 7-50 Hong Kong; ;