Sky Sports news – Get Involved in Handball

Handball is the second most popular team sport in Europe after football… and yet it has never taken off in the UK.

But as Sky Sports News’ Get Involved series has discovered, it’s a sport that has been on the rise ahead of the Olympics this summer.

Many doubted whether Team GB would be able to be competitive at the Games, but in the past three years there has been a 600 per cent increase in the number of people taking up the sport.

And the rise in youth participation has been particularly impressive. Sport England set handball a target to get 3,000 youngsters playing by 2013 – and there are already 9,000 taking part 18 months ahead of schedule.

In 2008 the number of children trying the sport was recorded at 10,500 but by 2011 that number had risen to 58,000 – an increase of 47,500.

And while Team GB are rank outsiders for a gold medal at the summer Games, both the men’s and women’s squads are hoping to reach the quarter-finals and capitalise on their chance to prove why handball is one of the world’s most popular sports.

British Handball Association Chairman John Brewer told Get Involved: “Handball is huge just across the water on the continent, a massive sport overseas.

“What we’re trying to do is use the Olympics as a catalyst to make handball have a much higher profile, not just at the performance level by competing well internationally, but also at grassroots level by having more clubs in schools and more clubs at universities where we can really help to develop a talent pool that will help to lead to more participation and higher performances in the future.”

http://www.skysports.com/video/inline/0,26691,24134_7444765,00.html

 

EHF Euro 2012

The 2012 Men’s European Handball Championships kicked off on Sunday, January 15 in Serbia with 16 nations vying to be crowned as the continent’s best handballing nation. 
 
With all of the matches being broadcast live via the European Handball Federation’s YouTube page, the tournament marks a great opportunity for handball fans in the UK  to witness the sport at its very best.
 
France have won two of the last three European Championships, including 2010’s 25:21 victory over Croatia and are sure to be one of the favorites after winning last year’s World Championships. The Danes, who France knocked off in the World Championship final, will be looking to knock the French off their roost and repeat their 2008 victory.
 
But the great thing about the European Championships is that there are no “easy” games. In fact, some consider it a harder tournament to win than the Olympics or World Championships. All 16 nations can compete with one another at the highest levels. Yes, the French should deservedly be expected to grab the gold as they seemingly always do but don’t be surprised if they struggle to make it to the medal round.
 
For the latest results, news and views please visit the official website http://www.ehf-euro.com/SRB2012.1941.0.html#
 

HANDBALL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS IN BETHNAL GREEN

London GD Handball Club is pleased to announce that as part of our ongoing commitment to the development of handball in the community we are offering handball beginner sessions in Bethnal Green starting on January 14th.

A major sport in the rest of Europe and in large parts of the world, handball is little known in the UK. However, interest in the sport is growing faster than ever before and it has proven to be a big hit with school children up and down the country.

“For us the 2011/12 season was the perfect time to kick start a development programme” says Jordi Ferrer-Torras, who is in charge of London GD development. “The upcoming Olympic Games has brought handball to the attention of a lot of people, and since the middle of last year we have participated in sporting events and taught in several schools.”

At the Saturday sessions at Bethnal Green Academy, children, teenagers and adults will get the chance to try their hand at the sport.

From 2 to 3.30pm we will offer Junior Handball sessions for children and teenagers aged nine to 16. Sessions are open to girls and boys and cost £1. From 3.30 to 5pm, we welcome senior beginners to join us, men and women are welcome, and, again, no prior experience is required. These sessions will be priced at £5.

Both sessions will be led by experienced and qualified female and male London GD handball players, all with relevant coaching qualifications. Neither session requires any prior knowledge of handball.

www.londongdhandball.co.uk

Great Britain Women Pro-active in London Handball

GB Women’s Captain Lynn McCafferty

Handball in London received great support from the “Best of British” when the GB women’s captain Lynn McCafferty led team members in a search for players for future Great Britain teams at Crystal Palace last Friday.

Pro-active county sports partnerships in London played a major role in ensuring the success of the first stages of selection providing the means to communicate with potential participants in boroughs, universities, schools and colleges in London at short notice.

Participants, a number of whom were experiencing Handball for the first time found the sport “fun and fast” with “end to end” play in which “everyone was involved.”

Lynn and her team put the girls through their paces teaching the skills and techniques of the sport and were pleased to see athletes showing signs of the potential and talent present in the current Great Britain women’s team that has achieved wins over Angola, Portugal, Italy, Japan and Slovakia.

The Great Britain women are determined to help create a tangible legacy for Handball in London from their time at Crystal Palace and the trials were also a step with London Handball Association to develop more Handball activity in the South London region.

The focus of the search for talent now moves to the north of England before returning to Crystal Palace for training on an accelerated programme.  Lynn however will not be relaxing in her efforts to do the best she can to establish a fully functioning Handball programme in London even though she is training full time for the opening matches of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

28 girls from the East and West Midlands, the East of England, London and the South East travelled to Crystal Palace for the trials.  12 girls based in London have been invited to attend further training sessions to be run by Lynn and the GB women.

Athletes attending the trials impressed officials with their commitment and athleticism.  Jesper Holmris, GB women’s coach said, “This is the first stage in establishing a programme from which athletes can emulate Lynn and her compatriots and gain selection for future Women’s British Handball teams.”

London Handball Association would like to thank the County Sports Partnerships, School Games Organisers, lecturer’s, teachers and Handball club secretaries in London, the Midlands, South and East of England for their support in making the trials a success.

Progress of the British Handball programme will be published on the London Handball Association website where information to support playing, teaching, coaching and refereeing Handball is available: http://www.londonhandball.co.uk/prepare/

Handball test event proves a hit with spectators

Alex Gavrilovic, Handball Competition Manager

06 Dec 2011

The dust has settled on the first ever event at the Handball Arena in the Olympic Park, so it’s time to take a breather and reflect on the London Handball Cup.

 I have enjoyed some very nice feedback after the London Prepares series event, where spectators new to the sport were delighted with the athleticism and skill of the players, as well as the excitement of some closely fought matches.

For example, the gold medal match was won in the last few seconds of the game when Poland’s last shot was saved by the brilliant Austrian goalkeeper Petra Blazek.

Handball heroes

Earlier in the competition the star was undoubtedly another goalkeeper, Poland’s Patrycja Mikszto, who caused a mini stampede of schoolchildren who were clamouring for her autograph after Poland’s defeat of Slovakia!

Handball matches are high-scoring and it is not unusual for over 50 goals to be scored in a match. With throwing much more accurate than kicking, handball goalkeepers face 40 to 50 shots on goal each match. I think Mikszto was pleasantly surprised to have become an instant cult hero to an audience that had probably never heard of her prior to that game.

The GB team managed a very good win over Angola and, although they ultimately lost a hard-fought battle against Slovakia to finish in sixth place, the team can take a lot of positives from the tournament. They showed that they are able to play well and to gain good, competitive results against leading world teams.

It’s great to think of all the other fantastic handball players, from Great Britain and nations around the world, that the largely UK audience will discover and adopt as their heroes during the Games next year.

Positive role models

A family with three daughters who attended the event were inspired by the positive role models that these strong female athletes exemplified and another family, who previously knew nothing about the sport, wrote to say how they became caught up in the excitement of the competition and enjoyed Austria’s victory over Poland.

I was also delighted by people’s reaction to the Handball Arena. As one of the permanent buildings on the Park, the venue will form a significant part of the legacy of the Games, whilst its colourful seats and intimate feel will contribute to an exciting and energised Handball event during London 2012.

Dented egos
A few weeks before the London 2012 test event, I had the pleasure of watching members of the GB women’s team promote their sport at Canary Wharf. They were asking members of the public to test their skill by throwing a handball ball at a target, whilst measuring the speed of their throw.

Quite a few young men in suits participated and put up some reasonable scores, some of them reaching throw speeds of over 40mph. Not a bad effort considering that the women’s ball weighs up to 375g, but they were all put to shame by GB star Kathryn Fudge who managed a throw of 58mph! This led to quite a few dented egos.

Significant achievements

My team and I had set some key aims which were achieved at the London Prepares series test event, but I think that the most significant achievement was that the sport has proven to be one that the UK public truly enjoy and are willing to support in the future.

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