my name is Huw Goodwin, and I am one of the athletes on the British Handball Association's World Class Development Programme - that's right, Britain has a handball team! There is a squad of men and a squad of women both based out at the Idraetshojskolen Arhus, in Denmark, training full time and playing for club sides in the area. The idea is that we will be exposed to greater levels of handball, in a country that sees the sport like the British see football.
We are embarking upon a tough and arduous journey to eventually compete at the London 2012 Olympics. We have to learn quick, as we are still regarded as a developing nation and, to my knowledge, have never qualified for the Olympics (or any major handball tournament? Someone might be able to correct me on that one!). My learning curve needs to be particularly steep, as I have only just begun playing the sport. I have come across from having a full time job, to going through the Talent Identification process, to living out in Denmark; and all this within 12 months! I had previously played rugby union and rugby league to an okay level but was ready to begin playing more socially and get myself a proper job (to pay off student debts). However, somehow I have ended up becoming a full time handball player, and being involved with the Great Britain squad! I don't regret a thing, and am looking forward to seeing what happens next. I'm living the dream and hope that one day it will culminate in the Olympic final, and a Gold Medal for GB Handball! Who knows...
In the meantime, there is a lot of training to be done (we have physical testing tomorrow!)... One year ago I had never touched a handball; one year later I'm playing handball full time; four and a half years from now I'm competing at the Olympics...?!
Watch this space for updates on the progress of myself and my fellow athletes on how we are making Great Britain a handballing giant...
Text: Huw Goodwin