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:

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.

Four thousand new sports clubs and £10 million Sainsbury’s investment to inspire a new sporting generation

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveils £1 billion strategy to deliver on 2012 Games promise to inspire a generation to get involved in sport

Every secondary school in England is set to host a community sports club, as part of a new strategy to encourage young people to play sport for life, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

The move is a key part of a £1 billion, five-year youth and community sport strategy published today that will deliver on Lord Coe’s 2012 Games bid promise to inspire a generation to get involved in sport.

The strategy, to be delivered by Sport England, will see new school-based sports clubs established with links to one or more sports’ national governing bodies. Expert coaches will run sessions to help create strong ties between schools and local sports clubs already in existence in their area. Football has pledged that 2,000 of their clubs will be linked to secondary schools by 2017, rugby union 1,300 clubs, cricket, 1,250 clubs and rugby league and tennis 1,000 clubs each.

Also, for the first time, funding will be made available to open up school sport facilities for wider public use.  Three-quarters of sports halls and artificial pitches and a third of swimming pools in England are located on school sites and £10 million of funding will enable communities to make the most of these local sporting assets.

£100 million will be invested in creating the clubs and tackling the drop-off in sports participation that can happen when young people leave school. Of this, £50 million will be invested to boost sport provision at further education colleges and universities.

The funding will also provide a full-time sports professional for at least 150 further education colleges, to drive forward innovative sports provision.

Around £450 million will go to sports governing bodies between 2013 and 2017 for their ‘whole sport plans.’ Around 60 per cent will benefit young people aged 14 – 25 so that sports are completely focussed on helping to drive a sporting habit for life. The remaining 40 per cent will be aimed at the rest of the population. Funding to governing bodies will be on a payments-by-results basis with sports that fail to deliver putting their public funding at risk.

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said:

“Despite huge investment of public funds since we won the right to host the Games, participation by young people in sport has been falling. We need a radical change in policy to address the deep-seated problem of people dropping out of sport when they leave school. Our bold approach will see money going to organisations that deliver on youth participation, but also withdrawn quickly from those which fail to meet agreed objectives.”

Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price said:

“Changing the sporting behaviour of a generation is a major challenge, which has not been achieved by any other Olympic host nation. With a new focus on young people and an even tougher, Government backed, regime of payment by results, Sport England and its partners are determined to deliver.”

Alex Horne, General Secretary of the FA, said:

“Football welcomes the Sport England strategy and the increased focus on youth participation. A priority will be taking 2,000 local football clubs into secondary schools across the country, offering expert coaching and creating the strong ties that will help young people make the move from school sport to community sport.”

Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said:

“Looking ahead to the next funding cycle, we have ambitious plans to build further on the success we’ve achieved over the past few years, and to capitalise on the inspirational impact of London 2012 to increase participation. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Sport England on turning these plans into reality under the new strategy outlined today. We take our responsibilities seriously in terms of maximising the impact of the public money we receive. We fully appreciate the fact this funding is a privilege and not a right, and with that in mind it makes sense to tie-in continued funding to the achievement of agreed goals and objectives to help ensure the best return on investment across all sports.”

David Collier, Chief Executive of the ECB, said:

“The ECB welcomes the new Sport England strategy and the reach down to 14 year olds.
This very much mirrors crickets own strategy to get more young people playing at school and in clubs and keep them involved in the game throughout their lives.”

Paul Clark, Chief Executive of England Netball, said:

“The success we’ve had in growing adult netball participation through our Back2Netball programme has clearly demonstrated that the participant-focused approach we take at England Netball is the right one. Our key challenge over the next four years will be to apply that approach and learning to drive increased participation in netball amongst young people aged between 14 and 25 years of age. This age group is critical to our ambition of encouraging and enabling engagement in Netball for Life.”

There is also an additional £160 million to improve the nation’s sports facility stock between 2012 and 2017, building on Sport England’s existing £90 million ‘Places, People, Play’ legacy facilities investment, while a new £40 million local sport fund will also be set up to help local authorities improve sport provision.

The Youth Sport strategy will build on the success of, and complement, the £150 million ‘School Games’ that is rejuvenating competitive sport for young people with over 11,000 schools signed up.


  • FEMALE, AGED 16 – 20?

British Handball Association will hold trials at Crystal Palace on Friday 13th January 2012 to create a women’s training squad in preparation for selecting a team to compete in the U20 World Handball Championships.  Athletes need not have previous experience as British Handball will operate an accelerated programme to prepare the athletes.

Attend the trials 7.00pm – 9.00pm at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, Ledrington Road, London. SE19 2BB. Pre-register and further details email


First Cabinet meeting of the year on Olympic Handball court 200 days before Games begin

Today the Prime Minister hosted the first Cabinet meeting of the year at the Olympic Park, reflecting the huge importance the Government places on making the most of the Games and its legacy for Britain.

Ministers will then travel to visit businesses, sports facilities, schools and organisations all around the UK to see first hand how the Games will benefit the whole country.

With 200 days to go until the start of Olympics, the Prime Minister wants the Cabinet to focus on making 2012 the best Games ever and securing the maximum benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The meeting comes on the day that three more Olympic venues have their future ownership confirmed, creating hundreds of future jobs and opportunities at the Park.

Securing the future of the Aquatics Centre and Multi-Use Arena (Handball Arena), AccelorMittal Orbit and the management of the Park estate creates more than 250 jobs and provides much-needed training and opportunities for small businesses.

This means that, thanks to the work of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, even at this stage, six out of eight permanent Olympic venues have secured a great future and we are well on track to ensuring a brilliant legacy for all of the sites before the Games even start – a first for any Olympic city in history.

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