Japan qualified for Paris 2024 with a surprise victory at the Asian qualifier ©AHF

Japan claimed an underdog victory at the men's Asian Olympic handball qualifier in Doha to seal their place at Paris 2024.

A group of 11 teams were battling for just one spot at next year's Games at the Duhail Handball Sports Hall and hosts Qatar and Bahrain were widely considered to be the favourites.

The Japanese were forced to withdraw from last year's Asian Championships in Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 positives and only finished fourth at the Asian Games in Hangzhou earlier this month.

But they put those disappointments aside by winning every match at the qualifier during the 10 days of action, ending with a 32-29 success over Bahrain in the final.

Kosuke Yasuhira was the final's star man, scoring 10 goals as his team netted six times without reply at the end of the first-half to swing the game in their favour. 

Japan qualified automatically for the Tokyo 2020 handball tournament as hosts but had not appeared at the Games since Seoul 1988 before that.

They are due to make their sixth Olympic appearance in all at Paris 2024.

The side coached by Iceland's Dagur Sigurdsson also beat Bahrain 27-26 in the group stage, en-route to a 100 per cent record.

With Qatar winning the other group, this crucially meant that both Gulf rivals faced each other in the semi-finals and it was Bahrain who triumphed 30-29.

This reversed the result from the Hangzhou 2022 final where Qatar beat Bahrain for gold.

Japan won an easier looking semi-final 34-23 against South Korea.

As runners-up, Bahrain have another chance of reaching Paris 2024 as they will enter one of three worldwide qualifiers which are due to be played in March.

Hosts France and world champions Denmark are the only other countries to have qualified so far for Paris 2024. 

The next qualifiers are due to decided through the Pan American Games tournament currently taking place in Santiago.