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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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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big Improvements at Turkey Camp

GREAT Britain women put in a string of strong performances against top class opposition while on a training camp in Turkey last week.

Five games in seven days gave Jesper Holmris’ team a tough week, with training sessions in between the matches against Poland and Turkey.

“It was a chance to see the progress since the team last played Poland,” said Team Manager Melanie Chowns. “And also to gain more experience of the different style of play that Turkey adopt.”

There was also a trial for 17-year-old Charlotte Le Blanc, who plays for HC de Belley in France, and the 1.80-metre left-handed player seized her opportunity well.

Coach Holmris was delighted with the two outstanding performances against Poland, narrowly losing 19–21 in the first match and playing even better in the second match against a fired up Polish team, who won 20–25.

“These results show the improvement, particularly in attack but it was the performance in defence that draw praise from the Polish coach,” added Chowns.

“The matches against Turkey were tougher for GB who are not so used to playing against teams who play so much with a 1 on 1 style of attack and highly physical defence, and this inexperience showed as Turkey dominated both matches.

“GB struggled with their shooting and lacked the usual flow in attack, but the whole squad was given a good run out and gained invaluable court time before the European Championship qualifiers in June.”

After the first match a presentation was made to left winger Britt Goodwin (pictured) who became the first British player in the women’s squad to score 100 goals for her country.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Handball Played At Olympic Arena for First Time

THE first ever handball match has been played on the Olympic Park after the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) invited Olympia Handball Club to play at the Handball Arena last week.

A playing surface and goals were installed for the trial, which saw the Olympia players demonstrate their skills so the Olympic Broadcast Service could test their camera set-up, with the light-tubes in the roof closed off to allow greater control of the lighting conditions.

Alex Gavrilovic, Handball Competition Manager, said: “The ODA has built a stunning venue which will provide an excellent platform for the world’s athletes to perform at their best. From a sports perspective, the lighting conditions in the arena are perfect for handball. We’re grateful to the Olympia Handball Club athletes for their participation and contribution to the test.

“Even though this was just a simulation, the athletes were keen to demonstrate the speed, physicality and excitement of handball. I can’t wait to see this Arena filled with spectators cheering for the GB teams as they make their Olympic debut.”

Handball tickets are on sale until the 26 April 2011. A total of 76 matches in 46 sessions are on offer, taking place over 16 days. To make sure you don't miss out on this exhilarating event, apply for tickets now at www.tickets.london2012.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BHA Chairman Tackles Marathon

BRITISH Handball’s chairman John Brewer is running the London Marathon this Sunday, raising funds for the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.

It will be the 13th time in 27 years he has tackled the epic run, and this time he is raising money for an organisation which works with all sports, including handball.

“The Trust works with young people to give them experiences and opportunities through sport,” explained Brewer. “It also supports senior, experienced athletes in a range of sports, who are looking to develop life-skills and employment when their sporting careers come to an end.

“Through the Trust, British Handball is benefiting from the experiences of ex-World Bobsleigh Champion, Niccola Minichiello, who is working with our men’s and women’s teams.”

Brewer first tackled the London Marathon 27 years ago, and this time will be giving a series of talks on hydration and refueling before the race to all runners who will be collecting their numbers at the Marathon Expo running for four days at the Excel Centre in London Docklands.

Anyone wanting to add to his sponsorship total can visit www.justgiving.com/john-brewer1

Monday, April 04, 2011

London 2012: Excitement Mounts for Handball Manager

WITH less than 18 months until the Olympic Games are held in London, British Handball spoke to 2012 Handball Competition Manager Alex Gavrilovic (pictured) to see how preparations are going. Andrew McSteen reports.

“My team is very excited, but we’re a bit too busy to think about it,” said Gavrilovic, who spoke to British Handball at one of our business networking events at Crystal Palace recently.

“There’s this looming deadline, an immovable object that we can’t ignore - it’s marvellous!

“The venue will be finished imminently, it will be handed over on the 10th May to LOCOG, so having the arena available this far out from the games has never happened before for our sport, so this is an amazing thing.

“There are a lot of similarities to the Sydney Games experience. Both teams have come from nowhere to create Olympic-quality athletes from virtually nothing with limited funding. But what British Handball and the athletes are achieving is so much better.

“Of course there is more funding which shows a good vision from UK Sport and the BOA and the athletes’ attitude, but they are there as a host nation and will want to take it as an opportunity to prove that they are worthy Olympians.

“We tried this same thing for the Australian teams for the Sydney 2000 games but not as successfully as it’s been launched here and I think this particular effort that has been put in by British Handball - and Paul Goodwin in particular - is just amazing. He is doing a lot with nothing, he is creating so many opportunities from virtually so little.

“In general with any Olympic athlete the media and the public don’t see the sacrifices being made. They see Michael Phelps in the swimming pool but they don’t see the hours and hours of training that the guy does to be where he is.

“Similar to GB Handball – people will come along to an international event and say ‘yeah, they’re good athletes’ but they don’t see the hours of training, the sacrifice, the living away from home and families, and giving up jobs.

“The Olympics are made up of a whole lot of athletes that aren’t high profile. You think about the media here and football – we know what they have for breakfast, we know what cars they are driving and you just don’t get that sort of information for Olympic athletes across any of the sports unless they happen to be the world champions, the most famous ones.

“Behind them there are a whole army of Olympians, doing it tough, putting it the effort in. It will be their families, their coaches and their immediate circle of support that get them through this – and that’s what makes Olympians.”

Behind the scenes, there are also an army of staff helping to put on the Olympic Games, and Gavrilovic added: “I’m delighted to have Sue Whitehead as our Services Manager and I’ve also been joined by Chris Athanasiadis who has been appointed as Technical Operations Manager for London 2012 and who worked with me at the Sydney Games.

“In Sydney he was the Handball Training Venues Manager and in Athens he was Deputy Competition Manager, so he comes with a lot of experience.

“So we have a very strong and experienced team to help us out. We’re focussing very much on some detailed planning some 18 months out or, as somebody put it, 69 weeks until the training venue opens for the Olympics. That really focuses your mind about how little time there is left now.

“We have a lot of detailed venue operational management and detailed competition activity and planning to do, especially for the test event in November, which feels like a long time away but in real terms bringing six international teams to Britain will be a huge challenge.

“A lot of work will be done in the next few months to interview all of our potential volunteers and select the final team of about 150 out of 2,000 who registered an interest in working with handball, which is an amazing number.

“Olympic Handball at London 2012 is far from being just a London-based event, we’ve had volunteers apply from all over Great Britain from Manchester and Newcastle to Edinburgh and Belfast – there are people from all over GB who want to volunteer!

“We are going out across Great Britain to regional volunteering selection events as well as London, which is our biggest one.

“In terms of our National Technical Official (NTO) training we have had people apply from all over as well as running sessions in Scotland, the north of England and London and it’s not just been those involved with handball, we’ve had many volunteers apply from outside of a handball background who just want to be involved in the Games.”

Handball is aiming to be one of the most successful legacy sports to come out of the 2012 Olympics, and leaving behind a meaningful legacy is an important part of the work being done by all parties.

“It would be a mistake to think that handball here is all about getting the athletes ready for London 2012 and then when it is all over let’s all get on with our lives,” added Gavrilovic.

“It’s very important that the sport here is focussing on life beyond London 2012 and what does that look like? How do they run it? How do they maintain it? How do they run programmes? How do they keep the athletes engaged? How do they grow the next generation of elite athletes?

“I think the sport is addressing that, and that is the essential bit.

“The fact that the EHF and IHF are both willing to invest in Great Britain Handball and the team speaks volumes, as they obviously want to grow the sport globally and they see London 2012 as an opportunity to put some things in place for the sport post the Games.

“Neither the EHF or the IHF are seeing this as a one-off. They want to see continued support and continued growth in this area. I’ve always said that we need a very strong English-speaking nation that plays very good handball.

“Australia didn’t quite get there with the Sydney Games so if we can achieve this here with the GB squad then it should help and inspire all the other English-speaking nations to raise their profile.”

Saturday, April 02, 2011

British Handball Volunteer Roy Jones Passes Away

MUCH-loved British Handball volunteer Roy Jones, who has worked at every tournament staged in the last three years, has died.

Roy first volunteered to work as a Team Host at the Women’s Four Nations Tournament in Sheffield in 2008, and went on to fulfill that role many times with different teams from across Europe. He most recently helped out at the GB Men’s International Series at Loughborough University.

“Roy was a gentle, modest and very educated man - a language teacher - who could speak many languages. He had always dreamed of volunteering at the Olympics and will sadly now not realise that dream,” said Paul Goodwin, British Handball CEO.

“Our volunteers play a very important part in making things happen and I ask you to spare a thought for Roy’s family and friends and those of our volunteers who have worked closely in recent years with Roy.”

There will be a private cremation, but a celebration of Roy's life will be held on Wednesday, April 6, at 3.15pm at Arden School, Station Road, Knowle, Solihull, West Midlands B93 0PT where he was recently working.