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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

British Handball Against Arena Re-naming

BRITISH Handball is against moves for the Olympic Handball Arena to be renamed The Copper Box so that the iconic venue retains the name of the sport both during and after the Olympics.

The Arena – which is a permanent structure and will play an important part in ensuring the 2012 games leaves a strong legacy – has been renamed the Copper Box to reflect the materials used on the outside of the 7,000-seater Arena.

But with handball being one of the fastest growing sport in the country at the moment, British Handball wants the name to remain as The Handball Arena.

Paul Goodwin, chief executive of British Handball, said: “Retaining the name of the sport in the title of the venue is important to us. The Olympics has given handball a great opportunity to grow in popularity, and all the indications are that we are achieving that.

“Handball has seen a six-fold increase in participation across England alone, with almost 60,000 children and young people being introduced to the sport last year.

“I think we deserve to have all our good work in developing the sport recognised by the authorities by not giving the venue a generic title which does nothing to reflect its usage.

“Why have they not renamed other facilities in a similar vein?

“Perhaps the Olympic Velodrome will be called ‘the big round wooden building’ or the basketball arena renamed as ‘the marshmallow’?”

Handball is the most popular team sport for women in Europe, and the second most popular for men.

And in Britain, it is growing in popularity in all corners of the game.

England Handball was set a target by Sport England of getting 3,000 youngsters regularly taking part in handball by 2013. But latest figures show there are already 9,000, 18 months ahead of the deadline.

This year’s British Universities Handball Championship saw unprecedented numbers of participants, while the English National League and Development League continues to go from strength to strength with new teams joining each year.

But the biggest increase in participation has come in schools, thanks largely to England Handball’s programme which has seen dramatic expansion across the country with Development Officers doing great work.

England Handball succeeded in getting handball named as one of just seven sports which are being offered to schools as part of the Government’s Change 4 Life programme which provides equipment and training in one sport to every school – and 420 schools chose handball.

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