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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Euro 2010: Britain Invades Europe!

GREAT Britain invaded Europe last week with handball fans, officials and players travelling to witness the thrilling finals of the 2010 Women’s European Championships in Denmark and Norway.

British people were working in several areas of the competition, as the growth of the sport in Britain continues to gather pace.

The European Handball Federation’s Head of Media and Communications is JJ Rowland who played an important part in staging the event, while British Handball’s Honorary Vice President Paul Bray was commentating for the EHF website’s live coverage.

British Handball Media Volunteer Andrew McSteen was editing the competition website, while England Handball official Miriam Pupalova was involved with tournament statistics.

Also at the event was British Handball’s official photographer Michele Davison, while BHA chief executive Paul Goodwin and EHA chairman Mike Briers were guests of the Norwegian Handball Federation.
GB women’s team head coach Jesper Holmris, captain Lynn McCafferty, and GB men’s team player Sebastian Prieto were also at the tournament.

And even among the non-British people at the event, much of the talk in the halls and bars was of the Great Britain women’s team, who beat Slovakia during the first week of the competition, which was split between Denmark and Norway.

After watching Norway win the European Championship, Lynn McCafferty said: I’m a bit awestruck being here. I’m a big handball fan so to watch Norway play is something else. And to play against them in the Olympics… well, you’ll have to ask me nearer the time as it feels unbelievable.

“It’s great to be here and watch it live and see the atmosphere. Obviously I’m a little bit jealous that I’m not on court playing. Handball is such a big sport here in Denmark and Norway and it would be great if it was a big in other places as it is here.”

And BHA chief executive Paul Goodwin said: “Whilst in Lillehammer we received many compliments for the progress our teams are making, not least from Marit Breivik, the celebrated Women’s national coach for Norway.”

Goodwin and Briers were invited to the event by Karle-Arne Johannessen, president of the Norwegian Handball Federation, to attend the matches between France and Slovenia and Norway and Hungary.
They were part of a 9,000-strong crowd who witnessed victories for France and Norway, with the hosts going forward to the next stage of the finals.

They met with officials from the Norwegian federation and discussed co-operation opportunities ranging from International competition to commercial opportunities and development support.

GB Winger Holly Wins Athlete of the Year Award

GREAT Britain winger Holly Lam-Moores has been named as the Olympic Athlete of the Year for Handball by the British Olympic Association.

Since their centenary year in 2005, the BOA have named one athlete from every sport as Athlete of the Year, with one being named as overall winner. This year, it was GB Athletics’ Mo Farah.

Andy Hunt, the Chief Executive of the BOA, said: “Throughout 2010, athletes from all 26 summer Olympic sports continued to prepare themselves for the once in a lifetime opportunity presented by a home Olympics in London in 2012.

“During this year we have seen many well-established sports continue to excel at World and European Championship level, while other sports have demonstrated great progression in their ambition of competing with the very best in 2012.

“During 2010 many young athletes have produced thrilling breakthrough performances and it’s particularly encouraging to see so many young athletes named by their sports as the Olympic Athlete of the Year.

“The award of the Olympic Athlete of the Year trophy recognises the dedication, commitment and excellence of athletes who represent the very best of British talent in their respective Olympic sports. I wish all the award winners the very best as they continue their preparations for London 2012, Sochi 2014 and beyond.”

GB Captain McCafferty Steps Up a League

GREAT Britain women’s captain Lynn McCafferty (pictured) will play out the rest of the season with Danish First Division side AGF after impressing in training with the Aarhus-based side.

McCafferty has been playing with Hadsten, while also training with AGF. But her performances have been improving and she was given the chance to step up to the next level.

“It was a really tough decision due to my loyalty to the coach at Hadsten as they had helped me a lot coming back to Denmark and I had promised them that I would stay until the end of the season,” said McCafferty.

“I had been approached before but decided to stay with Hadsten. But after the Poland camp the coach approached me again and I really had to think about it because it could be my last chance to play in the second best league in Denmark before returning to UK and then the Olympics.

“This is of course a step up in level and intensity which is beneficial for me and my development.
After a little soul searching I decided to move to AGF.

“I have developed a lot during my time at Hadsten and had great help from the coaches and players. My performance at the camp in Poland was testament to my time at Hadsten.”

British Handball Event Manager Handed Top Olympics Job

BRITISH Handball event manager Sue Whitehead, who has masterminded major handball events at Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Sheffield, has been appointed as Handball and Goalball Services Manager for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Community sports manager at Siddal Moor Sports College in Rochdale, has been granted a secondment from that job. She begins her new post after Christmas and will spend the next 18 months in London working at the LOCOG offices at Canary Wharf.

“It’s a big honour to be a part of the Olympic Games,” she said. “School have been fantastic in granting me this secondment and I am very grateful for all they have done.”

Sue first worked for British Handball when she was event manager for the highly-successful Four Nations Tournament in Sheffield in 2008, and then went on to hold a similar role on the team which planned events at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London, the Echo Arena in Liverpool and the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.

Events she has planned include several 2010 Women’s European Championship qualifying matches as well as the four-team 2012 Men’s European Championship.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

BHA and EHA officials in Talks with Norwegian Handball

TOP officials from British Handball and England Handball were guests of honour at two important European Championship clashes last week.

Paul Goodwin, the Chief Executive of British Handball, and Mike Briers, Chairman of England Handball, were invited by Karle-Arne Johannessen, president of the Norwegian Handball Federation, to attend the matches between France and Slovenia and Norway and Hungary.

They were part of a 9,000-strong crowd who witnessed victories for France and Norway, with the hosts going forward to the next stage of the finals.

Goodwin and Briers met with officials from the Norwegian federation and discussed co-operation opportunities ranging from International competition to commercial opportunities and development support.

“Whilst at Lillehammer we received many compliments for the progress our teams are making,” said Goodwin. “Not least from Marit Breivik, the celebrated Women’s national coach for Norway.”

* Partners in Handball: Paul Goodwin from British Handball, left, and Mike Briers from England Handball, right, are welcomed to Lillehammer by Norwegian Handball Federation president Karle-Arne Johannessen.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Women's World Champs: Photos now online!

PHOTOGRAPHS from Great Britain Women's matches in the 2011 World Championship qualification group are now online!

Taken by Julia Treharne in Poland, the pictures are available at the British Handball photo library, by clicking here

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Hosts Poland End GB's World Championship Dreams

A BATTLING performance from Great Britain women’s handball team was not enough to see them progress to the next stage of the 2011 World Championships, with hosts Poland topping the group after a 32-17 win over valiant GB on Sunday.

Great Britain finished third in the five-team qualifying group after a string of good performances, which included victories over pre-tournament favourites Slovakia as well as Cyprus.

Slovakia drew with Austria earlier on Sunday to leave the door open for GB to spring an upset and progress to the next stage of qualifying by beating hosts Poland.

But despite some good periods of play, the hosts were just too strong for the GB ladies, for whom goalkeeper Sarah Hargreaves (pictured) was voted player of the match.

Zoe Van De Weel chipped in with three goals from the right wing as did Kathryn Fudge, while Lyn Byl caused problems for the Polish side before having to go off with a bloodied nose towards the end.

Head Coach Jesper Holmris said afterwards: “We played OK, but we should’ve converted more of our chances. When Poland were 7-2 ahead, we had just as many chances and it should’ve been 7-7, but we wasted too many.

“Physically we were struggling a bit today, because Poland were a completely different level, and seeing them play they were obviously going to win the group. They were very strong.

“But overall the tournament has been fantastic for us, and our performance against Slovakia was awesome, and really shows what we can achieve and how far we’ve come.

“This has given the players such a lot of motivation to go back to their clubs and work hard, because they can see it really makes a difference.”

* Picture by Julia Treharne in Lublin, Poland.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Injury Mars Great Britain Win Over Cyprus

A CONFIDENT 39-20 victory over Cyprus saw Great Britain Women move up to third spot in the World Championship qualification tournament in Poland on Friday.

But the victory came at a cost, with line player Amondine Webb suffering a knee injury which could rule her out of action for up to three months.

But her team mates battled on after the first half injury, leading 23-10 at half time and building on that lead after the break.

After scoring five goals in GB’s opening day clash with Austria, Britt Goodwin netted seven times against Cyprus - as did Holly Lam-Moores as the British wingers wreaked havoc on the Cypriot defence.

After three games in three days GB now have a rest day where they will tend to several knocks and niggles ahead of their final match of the qualifying tournament against hosts Poland on Sunday.

If Slovakia can beat current group leaders Austria in their final match on Sunday, Great Britain’s fate will be in their own hands, with a win over Poland giving them passage through to the next round of the World Championship.

* Picture by Julia Treharne in Lublin, Poland.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Last-Gasp Goal Helps GB Women Beat Slovakia

A DRAMATIC last-second victory over Slovakia saw Great Britain women’s handball team give their World Championship qualifying campaign a shot in the arm.

GB won the clash 27-26 after Kathryn Fudge’s late goal, but it could have gone either way throughout the match with the sides level at 15-15 at half time.

Seven goals from Kelsi Fairbrother (pictured) underpinned Great Britain’s victory, although the while team played much better than their opening day loss to Austria on Wednesday.

“Slovakia were the top seeds going into this competition, and although they aren’t as strong as many people thought this is still a good win and a great day for British Handball,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris.

“Everybody played well, and our defence was better than yesterday, what is great about this win is that everything that went wrong against Austria we corrected for this game.

“We’re looking forward to playing Cyprus and Poland in our final two matches now.”

Ewa Palies found the net six times, while Lyn Byl, Kathryn Fudge and Britt Goodwin all scored three times.

GB’s remaining matches are:
Dec 3, GB v Cyprus 18.15
Dec 5, GB v Poland 15.15

* Photo by Julia Treharne in Lublin.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Asker Aces Shine for Great Britain

GREAT Britain starlet Nina Heglund scored five goals for Great Britain in the opening match of their World Championship qualification campaign against Austria in Poland on Wednesday.

The Norway-based 17-year-old playmaker caused real problems for the Austrian defence - as did her team-mate at Asker HC Britt Goodwin, who also chipped in five goals from the wing.

But their efforts were not enough to stop Austria winning 30-20, making it three out of three in clashes between the two sides in the last year or so.

“Austria were a lot better this time than last time we played them,” said GB head coach Jesper Holmris. “They had one of their best players back from injury.

“We didn’t have the usual energy, we weren’t as organised in defence and we missed a lot of chances, but we know we can play better and hope to do so against Slovakia tomorrow.

“Nina Heglund had one of her best games so far for GB with five goals from seven shots, and Britt Goodwin scored five too so it’s not all bad.”

Great Britain will be aiming to bounce back on Thursday afternoon when they take on Slovakia, again at the Globus Hall in Lublin.