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28.07.2011, 15:22
Handball boost in Great Britain
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How British handball wants to take advantage of the Olympic Games in London 2012.
 

Handball boost in Great Britain

Host nation Great Britain will have a Men’s and Women’s team at the Olympic event next year and both have made great strides with their development in the fledgling handball nation.

British Handball performance director, Lorraine Brown, speaking at a UK Sport event (the UK government department which funds elite sport) said that great strides have been made in the UK with the sport.

"GB Handball are very focused on being professional and ensuring we go out to compete. When we started, there was only one way to go. We've proved we can consistently improve and it's exponential.

"We would not be here if it wasn't for the London Games. Great Britain has never been able to put a handball team in because we didn't have the infrastructure or quality of athletes. When we started, we had a talent pool of three women and seven men. We've had to create two Olympic teams from scratch.

"We will arrive at the Olympic Park five days early so we can acclimatise. The players are not there to collect autographs, they are there to play handball.

"What's important is that we use London 2012 as a springboard for the sport. We don't want to be a flash in the pan - we're not just turning up to get the blazer."

Spectacular transfers

Last Monday, saw GB Handball's traffic light progress ranking move from amber to green and a further sign of the development of the sport came as Great Britain winger Mark Hawkins and right back Steven Larsson both signed for new clubs in Scandinavia.

Hawkins, 25 and from Horsham in Sussex, is moving to Iceland to play for UMF Afturelding in the country’s top league, which follows three years playing for HK Aarhus Nord in Denmark.

And Larsson, who lives in Norway but has family in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been snapped up by Norwegian professional club Drammen HK who finished second in the top Norwegian league.

"Last year Drammen HK were second in the league, so this year we are hoping to be in the top three again," said 30-year-old Larsson. "But a lot of professional players have come back to the Norwegian League this year so it’s going to be a tough season.

"Hopefully we will have many good games, and we have also qualified for the European Cup so it will be a good build up for me towards London 2012."

Meanwhile Hawkins said: "It's a fantastic opportunity to play in the top league of such a strong country. They develop so many good players physically and technically. It will be a great place to showcase myself.

"To be involved in a professional environment and playing for a team used to developing players will improve my game before next summer."

GB women in EHF EURO qualification

Great Britain women meanwhile will be looking forward to their EHF EURO 2012 campaign.

Following their two-leg victory over Finland in a pre-qualifiers earlier this year, GB were drawn with Russia, Poland and Montenegro in the group stages, with home and away legs due to be played.

The first home game will be on 22 October 2011 against Russia at Crystal Palace, while the home game against Poland will be on 21 March 2012, although a venue is yet to be announced.

And finally, the home game against Montenegro will also be at Crystal Palace on 30 May 2011.

The away dates have yet to be finalised, but GB will play in Montenegro on 19/20 October 2011, Poland on 24/25 March 2012 and Russia on 2/3 June 2012.


TEXT: EHF
 
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