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For all the latest news from British Handball plus news feeds from Handball Sites and Blogs around the world.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teams announced for Olympic Test Event

THE line-up for the 2012 Olympic Test event – The London Handball Cup from November 23-27 – has been announced.

Alongside Great Britain women will be a strong international line up of Austria, Angola, China, Poland and Slovakia.

The London Handball Cup is part of the London Prepares Series and takes place in the Handball Arena in Olympic Park. The event will give London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) the chance to test many parts of its operations including the field of play; results, timing and scoring systems and how teams work together.

The competition will see six teams divided into two groups, with teams placed 1st and 2nd in each group progressing to cross-over semi-finals, culminating in a gold/silver medal and bronze matches on the final day of competition.

Group A includes Slovakia, Poland and China and Group B includes Great Britain, Austria and Angola. China and Angola have also qualified to compete at the 2011 World Championships in Brazil, following just a few days after the London Handball Cup.

The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday 23 November 2011
10:30 Slovakia v China
13:00 Great Britain v Angola

Thursday 24 November 2011
10:30 China v Poland
13:00 Angola v Austria

Friday 25 November 2011
10:30 Austria v Great Britain
13:00 Poland v Slovakia

Saturday 26 November 2011 – Semifinals and play off for 5th and 6th place

Sunday 27 November 2011 – Final and Bronze medal match

Tickets for the London Handball Cup will not be on general sale, but local residents, schools, colleges and members of handball clubs are being given the opportunity to attend the test event.

Debbie Jevans, Director of Sport at LOCOG said: “The London Handball Cup will allow us to test our operations prior to the Games, but we are also delighted to be hosting such high quality teams in the brand new Handball Arena. The test event will be competitive and exciting and a great chance for local residents and school children to witness top level Handball, many of them for the first time.”

Paul Goodwin, Chief Executive of the British Handball Association said of the test event: “It is exciting to be part of the first competitive tournament played in the Olympic Handball Arena and we are looking forward to competing against some of the world’s best teams in November.”

The Handball Arena was the third Olympic Park venue to be completed in May 2011 and will have up to 6,500 capacity at Games Time. After the Games, capacity will be increased to accommodate up to 7,500 spectators as it becomes a multi-use venue for community use, athletic training and events.

* The website for the London Handball Cup has just been launched at www.londonpreparesseries.com/handball/index.html

It contains all the information about the competing nations and news in the run-up to the event.

Monday, September 26, 2011

London 2012: The Race for Places Continues!

WITH eleven month to go to the Olympics the race for places at 2012 is still wide open.

Only four of the 24 teams who will compete are known – both Great Britain men and women as hosts, the French men as World champions and the Norwegian women as European champions.

But the tension will rise in October, when the Asian and Pan American Continental Qualifications take place which will decide another four participants.

The last handball highlight of 2011 will be the Women’s World Championship (December 2-18) in Brazil. The World Champion will qualify directly for London 2012, while the nations ranked 2nd to 7th book their tickets for the Olympics Qualification tournaments end of May.

There are a huge number of contenders in Brazil, where the Russian women are trying to grab their fifth World Championship title in ten years.

At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing they finished second after losing to Norway in the final.

The Northern Europeans are also among the favourites despite some key players being injured or unavailable.

Apart from France (runners-up at the last World Championships in China), Romania (Bronze medalist at the EHF EURO 2010) and Korea (always on top performing level before Olympics) are also among the favourites. And teams like Montenegro, Sweden or host Brazil have an outside chance in the race for the medals.

One of the last big handball events before London 2012 will be the Men’s EHF EURO 2012 in January in Serbia, where the finals will be held in the 20,000 capacity Belgrade Arena.

As ever, the main contender for the title will be France, who are the reigning EHF European and Olympic champions.

Led by coach Claude Onesta, they have been unbeatable in all major tournaments since the Olympics in Beijing and have re-written history: After taking the Olympic gold medal they took two World Championship titles (2009 and 2011) and one EHF EURO title (2010) – and they are the first ever team to hold all major trophies at the same time.

With world-class stars like former World Handball Players of the Year Nikola Karabatic and Thierry Omeyer, the best defender in the world Didier Dinart and the most spectacular player Luc Abalo, France is like a wall in defence and a bulldozer in attack, unstoppable!

Below France, Croatia (Olympics champions 2004 and world champions 2003), Denmark (European champions 2008 and Silver medallist at the World championships 2011), Spain, Iceland or hosts Serbia are hope for medals.

Denmark, Spain and Sweden will host the last chance for the London 2012 tickets – the Olympics qualification tournaments on the Easter weekend 2012.

And by the end of May all the teams who will play at the London 2012 Olympics will be known.

Text: Björn Pazen

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Elite Coaching Scheme Launched

BRITISH Handball has launched a new elite coach development programme to ensure the growth of the sport in the UK continues long after the London Olympics.

Up-and-coming coaches across the country are being invited to take part in the scheme, which is a 12-month programme led by the Great Britain Olympic coaches supported by guest speakers from the world of handball, elite sport and beyond.

The scheme is being supported by both England Handball and Scottish Handball, who may where appropriate help individual participants with the costs of attending the course.

British Handball will provide significant resources to the initiative by providing head coach time, participant packs including work shop materials and DVDs, guest lecturers and other elite coach specialists, tickets to events, refreshments and lunch during the workshop days.

Participants will be asked to make a contribution of £250 towards these costs, and in addition participants will cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

The course will be based over several weekends, and will tie in with international matches where Great Britain will be competing – mainly in London at Crystal Palace.

There is a limit of 20 places on the scheme. For further details click here