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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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Thursday, March 31, 2011

2012 Games Makers: Update

IF YOU applied to become a Games Maker at the 2012 Olympics in London, chances are you will be invited to one of a series of selection events being staged around the country.

Dozens of selection events (dates below) are taking place in England, Scotland and Wales between now and August, so if you applied but haven’t heard back yet then don’t panic! Your invite may well be sent later in the year.

Handball was one of several sports that was over-subscribed, so you may be invited for a different sport.

In the invitation you’ll be instructed to log in to the Games Maker zone to choose a convenient time to attend. Please ensure you do this in order to confirm your attendance at the selection event. If you can’t make that day, you’ll be able to call the Games Maker support centre to arrange another date.
If you have any queries about the Games Maker programme, you can visit
london2012.com/volunteering

London (February 2011 – March 2012)
Weymouth and Portland (8 – 20 March 2011)
Salford (24 March – 16 April 2011)
Belfast (20 – 28 April 2011)
Glasgow (4 – 15 May 2011)
Gateshead (19 May – 3 June 2011)
Cardiff (7 – 18 June 2011)
Coventry (22 June – 7 August 2011)
Plymouth (11 – 17 August 2011)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Businesses Support British Handball

A HOST of businesses have come forward to support British Handball as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London next year, adding to the growing portfolio of sponsors getting behind the exciting sport.

Handball is one of the fastest growing sports in Britain and is set to prove one of the success stories of the Games, with schools, universities and adult clubs across the land seeing unprecedented demand for the sport.

The latest businesses to come forward and support British Handball are top footwear manufacturer Mizuno, Feet Fresh deodorant powder and Global Sports Jobs.

Representatives from all those firms and other interested parties last week attended a presentation event with the GB Women’s handball team at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, where the women’s team will shortly be based following an earlier partnership deal with GLL.

Mizuno are now the official partner and preferred footwear supplier to both the men’s and women’s handball teams for the next two years, a move which ensures the teams will be best-equipped for the Olympics.

Both teams will be using Mizuno’s new handball-specific shoe, the Wave Stealth, which has been developed from research carried out with elite handball players from across Europe.

Feet Fresh is a natural mineral deodorant powder intended for the protection and preservation of foot health, implementing and maintaining the desired climate in the footwear - something that is essential for top athletes to perform at their best.

And Global Sports Jobs is a web-based career advice portal supporting professionals working in the sports sector, helping them find their perfect job, build their network and get ahead in their careers.

Will Lloyd, Director of Global Sports Jobs, added: “We are delighted to partner with the British Handball Association and to welcome them to our global network.

“With GlobalSportsJobs, the BHA will take the lead in creating a global jobs board for the handball community around the world, ensuring that the sport and its partners have access to the best professional talent available.

“I have been extremely impressed by the professionalism and the progressive outlook of the BHA and its officials and look forward to working with them.”

A number of other businesses also came forward with offers of help for British Handball and the athletes as they prepare for the move to live, work and train in London.

A long-term partner of British Handball, specialist flooring company Gerflor were also present and helped make the event such a success.

“We are delighted to welcome all our new partners on board,” said British Handball CEO Paul Goodwin.
“They are all offering different services and products, but each one is playing an important part in helping to make the GB handball teams a success as we prepare for the London Olympics.

“But they are also helping create a lasting legacy for handball in this country, something they can rightly feel proud of.”

“We’re in it for the long-haul, not just London 2012,” said GLL Regional Manager Tony Wallace. “The GLL Sports Foundation support 850 athletes throughout London of which the GB athletes here are part of it.

“We see it is a natural progression for London 2012 and beyond, all these athletes are getting a real good grounding into sport and the opportunity to excel.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Great Britain v Turkey: Pictures now Online!

PHOTOGRAPHS from the Great Britain v Turkey clash at Loughborough University on Saturday are now online!

Taken by Michele Davison, you can see the pictures by clicking here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Battling GB Men go Down to Turkey

A BATTLING performance from Great Britain men against Turkey on Saturday was not enough to see them record a third consecutive victory, with the visitors scraping a 26-28 victory in the final match of the series at Loughborough University.

Nine goals from Steven Larsson helped GB contend with a strong Turkish side, and left Larsson as the tournament’s top scorer with 17 goals after bagging eight in Friday night’s victory over Italy.

“We’re really satisfied with how this whole week has gone,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie. “And we were delighted with the performance against Turkey even though we didn’t get the result we would’ve liked.

“But it was difficult for us because we had less than 18 hours rest between the two games, whereas Turkey had a day more than us.”

After going goal for goal for much of the first half the score ended with GB just one down at 13-14 at the break. But Turkey came out fighting for the last period, while mistakes began to creep into GB’s game.

Injuries to key players - with captain Ciaran Williams sustaining a facial injury and Chris McDermott a leg injury - further hit GB’s hopes, and they found themselves 19-26 down with eight minutes left on the clock.

However their fighting spirit shone through and they battled back to within two goals with a 7-2 streak, but just failed to catch their rivals.

Apart from Larsson’s nine goals, Sebastian Prieto (pictured) added seven, while for Turkey Tugberk Catkin and Ramazan Done both scored six.

“Every time these boys come together they are improving, and we can really see the step up now from how they were back in January when we were together last,” added Baillie.

“We have a four-week long camp in May, and it will be good to see how much we can improve then, but it’s all about staying together, learning together, and stepping up.”

GB v Italy: Photos now online!

PHOTOS from Great Britain men's 33-24 victory over Italy at Loughborough University are now online.

The images - taken by official British Handball photographer Michele Davison - can be found here or by going to www.picasaweb.google.com/britishhandball

Images from the Italy v Turley match the previous day are also online.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jubilant GB Sweep Aside Italy

ALMOST nine months to the day since notching up their first competitive victory, Great Britain men beat Italy 33-24 in Loughborough to secure their second win.

It was a fitter and faster GB side which took to the court against Italy at Loughborough University, and after opening up an early lead few would’ve bet against GB making it two wins in a row following last June’s victory over Bulgaria.

“The boys played perfectly,” said Head Coach Dragan Djukic. “Our defence and attack was great, and we played right to the end of the match.

“This week we have had physical testing and we can see the improvements that all the players have made.

“We play Turkey next, and that will be a tough game as they have had a rest day, and they are an experienced team and have players who have been together for ten years.

“But if we defend like we did today, we will be happy and we could win again.”

After their good start to the match, GB’s lead was whittled away by some fast moves from Italy, and they were just one behind at the break, 14-13.

But GB kept their nerve and as the game went on they forced Italy into long-range shots. Six goals behind with 12 minutes to go, Italy kept battling and pounced on some defensive lapses by GB to keep their hopes alive.

However, GB battled on and extended their lead as Italian hopes faded and heads dropped.

Steven Larsson (pictured) ended as GB’s top scorer with eight goals, while Martin Hare and Chris McDermott scored six each.

Photo copyright: Nigel Farrow (http://www.nigelfarrow.com/)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Britain Aim for Italian Job

GREAT Britain Men take on Italy in their opening clash of the Loughborough Three Nations Series on Friday evening, with their rivals eager to taste victory following an opening day defeat to Turkey on Thursday.

Italy went down 28-33 to Turkey in Thursday evening’s clash after a late fightback by the Turks proved enough to snatch the win.

The GB squad witnessed Thursday’s clash, and will be taking nothing for granted after seeing great fighting spirit and skill from both sides.

“It was a really good game,” said Great Britain captain Ciaran Williams, pictured. “They are both strong teams and have some really talented individuals, but Italy are younger than Turkey, and that may have proved the difference.

“These two teams are both of a really good standard, and we’re looking forward to the test.”

Ahead 15-13 at half time, Italy posed a threat to the Turkish defence from across the court, but it was right back Michele Skatar who scored eight goals, while left backs Flavio Messina and Tin Tokic added four each.

However, Turkey’s second half fightback proved too strong, with right back Done Ramazan their top scorer with nine goals, while right back Omar Arifoglu and left winger Tan Idris both scoring five goals.

GB have been in Loughborough all week training, and Williams added: “The facilities here are great. It’s been really tough for us because we’ve been doing a lot of tests, but all the squad are fitter and sharper, and this week has really helped us bring it all together.”

Nine months have passed since Great Britain recorded their first competitive victory, beating Bulgaria by one goal in the qualifying stages of the 2012 European Championships.

And the team are eager to show how much they have improved - starting with tonight’s match against Italy.
Several training camps and a tough domestic season later, Great Britain will be keen to get on court once again.

“I’m back fully fit now for the first time in ages, so I can’t wait to get on court,” said Williams, who was not 100 per cent for the Euro 2012 campaign.

“The atmosphere in the camp is great, we’re all really up for this and want to show what we can do. We’ve played training matches since last year, but this is the first international clash so we’re all really up for it.”

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

GB Men Ready for Three-Nation Challenge

THEY have been training at Loughborough University all week, but now the GB Men’s handball team are ready to take on Turkey and Italy in an international series of matches at the Sir David Wallace Sports Centre.

Forming an important part of their preparations for 2012, the week in Loughborough also gives the venue chance to hone their facilities which will be used as a holding camp prior to the 2012 Olympics.

The first match sees Italy and Turkey play each other on Thursday (1930 start), and it will be a match watched with interest by the GB team who will want to see just what they will face in the following days.

Great Britain are first in action on Friday (1930 start) when they play Italy, who only narrowly failed to qualify for the second stage of Euro 2012 on goal difference having beaten Georgia and Finland.

Finally, on Saturday Great Britain play Turkey, and will need to be at their best to beat a side who overcame Belgium and Luxembourg in the early stages of the 2012 European Championship last year.

Regular updates, match reports and previews will be available each day on www.BritishHandball.com as well as via the British Handball mailing list.


GUIDE TO ITALY

NANTES right back Michele Skatar was Italy’s top-scorer with 23 goals in three games in the qualifying stages for the 2012 European Championship, and he will prove a real threat to his rivals at Loughborough.
The 25-year-old has 61 international caps to his name - more than all but one of his team-mates - Pressano right winger Adriano Di Maggio having 66.
Also worth watching for the Italians is Demis Radovic, a 22-year-old left winger from Conversano who scored 17 in the Euro 2012 qualifying group.
And Tin Tokic is also named in their squad for Loughborough. Another 25-year-old, the left back with JJ Arrate scored 14 goals in their Euro 2012 campaign.



GUIDE TO TURKEY

LIKE Italy, Turkey are also a team with a talented player at right back - 29-year-old Ramazan Done who plays for Besiktas in the Turkish League.
He scored 24 goals in three games at the 2012 World Championships qualifiers and was the driving force behind a team who very nearly won their group.
And in the group stages of the 2010 European Championship he was Turkey’s top-scorer in all but one of the seven games he played in.
And Turkey’s left back Emre Keskin is also quite handy in front of goal, having scored 16 times in their three-match World Championship qualifying campaign.
Finally, Tolga Ozbahar is their most experienced player, the pivot having made 53 appearances and scored 12 goals in their World Championship qualifying campaign last year.

University Trials Begin

AFTER the success of the British Universities Championship last month, BUH are delighted to invite GB-eligible male players to register for the British Universities Handball Trials.

The trials will be held from 1-5pm on Sunday March 27th at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus.

Successful candidates will be invited to represent Great Britain Universities at the 15th Krakow International Mens’ Student Handball Tournament from May 6-8 2011.

Trial Registration is due by March 23 and should go to admin@britishuniversitieshandball.com

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Asker Adventure Reaches Climax

BRITISH handball athletes have been plying their trade with Asker HC in Norway for three seasons, but this year will be their last as Project Homecoming sees the majority of the GB players come to Crystal Palace to prepare for the Olympics next year.

With GB assistant coach Vigdis Holmeset in charge at Asker, a string of GB players have experienced the Norwegian game over the last two and a half years, and helped turn the club around from one threatened with relegation to one challenging for promotion.

The players have all bonded with their squad-mates at Asker and formed a successful team, which will make it hard for them to leave for London later this year.

“It’s going to be a real shame to leave a club we've been at for the past two and half seasons,” said Louise Jukes. “They have been incredibly supportive to us and we would not be where we are now without them.

“We've made a lot of friends here and will miss them terribly. However knowing what it’s like to play together and how much it can improve a team shows us first hand that being together in London is the future if we want to have a chance at 2012.”

After initially helping to save Asker from relegation in their first season, the GB players and the rest of the team turned things around and finished second in the league last term. But that meant many of their players receiving offers to play elsewhere.

“This season was always going to be tough after losing six of our key players after coming second in the league last season,” added Jukes. “But we did however gain GB winger Britt Goodwin and young Nina Heglund also stepped up to the seniors having shown her form with the youth team.”

Jukes - who along with Kathryn Fudge are the only two GB athletes left of the original players to make the move to Asker - added: “The season has been up and down for us, often facing teams who play their elite Liga players against us in order to secure the win.

“We've had some very good results but unfortunately we will not be knocking on the door of promotion this season. It has taken some time to get the team functioning as a unit with the majority of the players coming half way through the season but things are looking up and we are currently sitting fourth in the table.

“There have been some great performances from the GB girls, particularly Britt Goodwin who is, like she is at GB, sitting as top goal scorer for the team, often converting 10 goals a game. It really is fantastic being able to train with each other day in day out, and we have improve leaps and bounds under the guidance of GB assistant coach Vigdis Holmeset.

“We still continue to go to the elite training with Marit Breivik and some of the Norwegian National team players and it is a huge honour to be invited to this. They are some of the best players in the world and to be able to learn from them and even be on the same court as them is a real privilege.”