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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Euro 2012: Training Steps up for GB Men

AS preparations for their Euro 2012 campaign in June continue, the GB Men’s handball team were boosted this week with the news that every member of the squad at their training camp in London had passed a tough set of fitness tests.

With just two months to go until Crystal Palace plays host to six Euro 2012 matches, the GB squad are at the venue this week under the guidance of head coach Dragan Djukic (pictured), assistant Bill Baillie and strength and conditioning coach Jure Sterbucl.

Most of Monday was spent putting the players through body fat and metabolism tests, as well as gruelling endurance and strength tests.

And the results have shown that all players at Crystal Palace have improved significantly since the tests were last done late last year.

“Prior to the World Championship qualifiers in Finland in January we were a bit disappointed with the condition of some of the players,” said Baillie. “So there was a clear message that any player who was out of shape coming into this camp who failed the tests would be sent home immediately.

“The good news is that all the players here have responded well, and overall the team has improved significantly which is great.

“But their fitness level is just one element of many that we need to bring together before 2012.”
It has been around three years since the GB team played a match on home shores, and being drawn as the hosts for their Euro 2012 group has given the players a real boost.

"The players have all seen the GB women’s matches and they can’t wait to play in front of a home crowd,” added Baillie. “It’s been all the talk over dinner during the camp.

“The squad is a lot more focused now, and realise that it’s not just a pipe dream; in a matter of weeks they will be playing against some of the best players in the world.

“They’re really excited and their motivation is good as it is in the whole team, but there’s always room to improve - as coaches we’re never satisfied anyway!”

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