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Thursday, January 27, 2011
GB are in Sweden on a training camp all week and are also taking in some of the 2011 World Championship matches.
Tuesday’s match gave Head Coach Dragan Djukic time to try out various different formations, although he was without talented goalkeeper Bobby White who is recovering from a hip operation.
17-11 down at half time, GB strengthened their attacking play after the break and only lost the second period 17-14, with Steven Larsson (pictured) scoring eight goals.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Out in Sweden for a training camp, the GB team and coaches are taking in several of the 2011 World Championship games as part of their trip.
One of the strongest nations in the world, Sweden Under-21s should provide a tough test for Great Britain as they continue their development and progress towards the 2012 Olympics in London next year.
And prior to the clash with the Swedish Under-21 side, GB will play Helsingborg this afternoon (4pm, Jan 24).
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
After a presentation by British handball officials last week, the BOA announced on Wednesday that British Handball would be allowed to take up their place at the games.
The news was announced by BOA Chief Executive and Chef de Mission Andy Hunt at the Olympic Handball Arena in London, which is set to be finished in around 14 weeks time.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to confirm that the British Handball Association has proven to us that they will maximise the opportunities that come with participation at a Home Games to make a step change in their sport that will also have a lasting legacy for handball," he said.
“British male and female handball players are competing in high level club competition in Europe and getting the experience they need to deliver a credible performance at the London 2012 Olympics.
"I am confident that handball will be using the experience of London 2012 to ensure sustained competitive excellence and use London 2012 as a platform to qualify by right for future Olympics as well as a springboard for growth and capturing the interest and imagination of the British public.”
As the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the BOA, among its many duties, is responsible for approving the eligibility and entry of all British athletes who compete as members of Team GB at the Olympic Games.
BOA Director of Sport and Deputy Team GB Chef de Mission Sir Clive Woodward said: “Handball enjoys tremendous popularity throughout Europe and there is no reason it shouldn’t be the case in the UK - I believe that the London 2012 Olympics can be the platform for that growth.
"I have no doubt that handball will do Team GB and their sport proud in 2012. I am sure they will seize this opportunity and make the most of it for the long term benefit of their sport. I am delighted that the players now know that all the hard work so far has been worth it and that going forward they can concentrate fully on getting ready for 2012.”
Paul Goodwin, British Handball CEO, said: “We are delighted with the BOA's decision to endorse both the men's and women's handball teams participation at the London Olympic Games. Today's announcement is testimony to the hard work and dedication of our athletes.
They have climbed mountains to reach this point and know only too well the challenges that lie ahead.
"Since embarking on this 'Olympic journey', British Handball has always delivered on its promises and we are convinced that our athletes will deliver a credible performance in 2012 and that the British public will not be disappointed.”
Lorraine Brown, British Handball Performance Director, commented: “The announcement today is fantastic recognition of the progress made by the GB handball teams over the past four years and vindication of the hard work, dedication and commitment shown by the players who never lost sight of their Olympic Dream.
"Although everyone in GB Handball performance programme recognise that there is still a lot of hard work to be undertaken in the next 18 months to ensure we maximise the time remaining, the trust and support shown by the BOA in our plans is tremendous news."
GB goalkeeper Bobby White, said: “It is fantastic news that the BOA has given us the opportunity to compete at the London Olympics. There has been a great deal of hard work from everybody involved in British Handball, none more so than the players that have continued to fight and improve when circumstances were against us. Now we can focus solely on what we can control, and push on even further.
"In 2012 we will have the chance to show the British public what an incredible sport handball is and show the f the International handball community what can be achieved in such a relatively short amount of time, considering where we started!”
And women’s team member Dani Sposi, added: “It's fantastic news to hear that we are going to compete for our country at London 2012. We have been working very hard and have been dedicated to the dream of competing in London for the past four years.
"Being part of Team GB is a great honour and we are pleased the BOA saw in our team a credible group of athletes as well as a great opportunity for British Handball. We will be based in London later on this year to intensify our training and be ready to produce inspiring performances in London, for the public, for the sport and for the legacy we would love to leave behind for the next generation of handball players.”
Team GB players can now look forward to competing at the Handball Arena in the Olympic Park, with the ODA confirming that the upper tier of 3,500 seats has now been completed and the last of the sustainably-sourced copper cladding fitted onto the unique roof.
Work is moving ahead inside the venue, with the remaining 3,000 retractable lower tier seats to be installed once the sprung wooden court surface is completed next month. A webcam has also been installed at the area, allowing people to see the progress made to date.
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: “The Handball Arena is one of the most compact on the Olympic Park, with legacy and sustainability very much integrated into the design process.
Progress is moving ahead at an impressive rate, with over half of the seats already in place and work underway of installing the sprung wooden floor.”
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Fighting spirit shone through from all the players, who competed well in all three of their matches in Nove Veseli despite a young squad with little international experience.
The development work being done across the country produced many of the players on show, and many of those receiving their first caps will surely be back for more after some sparkling performances.
The team lost all three of their matches, but with an average of just one and a half caps for the GB squad, they played strongly against teams who have been together for several years and are already destined for top-level handball careers.
They faced a tough opening match against a Slovenian team who are ranked number three in Europe, and lost out 46-14 to a side who have largely been playing together for five years.
But the GB players responded superbly the following day with a strong performance against the host nation, Czech Republic.
Great Britain were only two goals down at half time at 15-13, and among the crowd who gave them a standing ovation at the break was the Slovenian team who had beaten them the previous day.
With Jack Hennessy out with a back injury and captain Chris Mohr and Nick Satchwell both playing through ankle injuries, GB were unable to sustain the pressure and went down 41-29.
For the final game against Norway, the GB team were back to full strength after some good work from the physio. After a hesitant start GB trailed 13-10 at half time.
With just 12 minutes left Norway were only leading 29-23, but GB tired and could not stop their experienced rivals pulling away to win 47-28.
GB Senior Team Head Coach Dragan Djukic was present for all the Under-21 matches, and saw much to be optimistic about as British Handball continue to make plans for the future of the sport in this country.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
He was responding to questions about Olympic tickets which go on sale in March, and backed all sports - including handball - to sell out and give the British public a real sporting boost.
“There is massive interest in sport generally in this country and people will also want to go to see sports they have never seen before to sample the Olympic experience,” he said.
“This is also an opportunity for a number of federations to use that showcase as a way of attracting young people to the qualities of that sport.
“Handball for example could have a very big leg-up in this country as it is a very good sport and exciting for kids to learn and play.”
Saturday, January 01, 2011
A squad of 22 players will travel on Monday to prepare for the group stage, which begins on Friday with a clash against Slovenia, and continue with matches against the hosts Czech Republic on Jan 8 and Norway on Jan 9.
“Our average number of international matches in this squad is just four, while our opponents range from 28-40,” said Head coach Bill Baillie. “Our opponents have had most of their players in the system for four years, while ours have been with us for just one.
“But this is progress from last time and with the good work being undertaken by England Handball, this will only improve for future championships.”
A strong goalkeeping line-up goes to the Czech Republic with GB senior number three Nicholas Satchwell (pictured) leading newcomer Mukesh Singh, while Salford’s Rob Avery also looks promising.
Other key players for the Under-21s include GB seniors Chris Mohr who captains the U21s, while wingers Alex Girvan and Seb Edgar will be expected to put their experience with the GB seniors to good use.
Avery is joined in the squad by Salford team-mates Aden Woodall, Jack Hennessey and Josh Hampson who have all been in good form in the National League.
But the team is without injury victim Gawain Vincent, while Henrik Forsting is unavailable.
“We have been drawn in one of the toughest - if not the toughest - groups,” added Baillie.
“Slovenia finished third at the Under-20 European Championships in August and the Czech Republic finished 12th. And Norway were one of the best teams in pot three of the draw and are currently in Iceland preparing for these championships.”