"Enjoy seeing the handball stars of tomorrow!”
The EHF Headquarters in Vienna was the setting today (Friday 13 April 2012) for the Final Tournament Draw of the EHF Men's 20 European Championship 2012 which will be held in Turkey from 5 – 15 July.
Taking place in the Besyo Hall, Eskisehir and Ankara Arena, Ankara the tournament promises to showcase the very best young male players in Europe and the host country itself – Turkey.
Present at the draw was Deniz Hakki Tanin, Foreign Relations Manager of the Turkish Handball Federation and he spoke to eurohandball.com about the tournament and what fans can expect from his country.
eurohandball.com: What does this tournament mean for handball in Turkey?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: The tournament is very important in relation to the development of handball in Turkey. This is the first time that Turkey has organised such an important handball event and everyone involved with handball in Turkey considers this event as a good base for the further organisation of senior events – it is fundamental that we organise tournaments like this for future senior tournaments.
eurohandball.com: Why was it important to be involved in the draw today?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: It is of course important to be involved at every stage of the tournament; it is not just the final tournament, but all the meetings, qualification games and draws.
It is interesting and exciting to be part of the draw. I was interested in the draw procedure and this event is good for promotion, it makes it more attractive.
eurohandball.com: As hosts, you were entitled to choose your final tournament group after three rounds of the draw, what did this involve?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: Well, when I was given the time to decide our group I discussed with the technical guys back in Turkey about which group we should participate in and we then decided on Group A.
eurohandball.com: Group A will see you play in Besyo Hall, Eskisehir against Spain, Norway and Czech Republic. Why did you choose this group?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: Well, the Turkish M20 side played some friendly matches in Guadalajara against the Spanish national team as well as training with them.
Added to the time in Spain, from 29 March to 2 April we played in a tournament in Czech Republic against Qatar, Norway and the hosts, so we have played all the teams in the group and know them well – it is quite astonishing really.
eurohandball.com: What are your chances in Group A?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: Well, the group is tough and Spain will probably take the lead in it, but we are aiming at least to finish second in this group.
We will have great support in Eskisehir as the people have a big appetite for handball and it flourishes there. We will be pushing to make the Main Round and to be playing in Ankara.
eurohandball.com: What are your thoughts about the other teams in the tournament?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: Well, Sweden and Denmark are quite powerful teams and are always strong. Group B (with Croatia, Poland, Portugal and Russia) appears quite open, but it is a tournament and you never know – anything can happen!
eurohandball.com: What happens now with the tournament in terms of organisation and management?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: We are just about to finish our event identity and this will lead with the commencement of promoting the tournament on a dedicated website.
We will also conduct a lot of promotion away from online too, targeting every group in Turkey such as officials, non-officials, NGOs, Government, sports and the general public for example.
We are now entering a tough period after the draw with a lot of work, but Turkey has handled other sporting events well and this is constructive going into this one.
eurohandball.com: Can you give the readers an update on Turkish handball and how it is progressing?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: We are gaining successful results at a senior level and are doing a lot of promotion with women’s handball which we have a real passion for in Turkey.
Once a week, on NTV, we broadcast one men’s and one women’s national league game and the broadcasting and exposure is helping to develop the sport with, particularly, the big football clubs such as Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and, of course, Besiktas are taking a lot of interest in the game – we have lots of big projects in Turkish handball.
eurohandball.com: What should fans expect who visit Turkey for the tournament and what is your message to them?
Deniz Hakki Tanin: Turkish people love goals, so handball is an ideal sport for them. Football is a big sport of course, but Turkish fans are perceiving handball in a different way – goals are scored with a combination of the hand and foot, not just the foot!
We are a very hospitable people and both host cities - Eskisehir and Ankara are contemporary, secular cities. Fans can find everything in Turkey; all different people, different flavours and it will be fun for them to discover the cities and surrounding areas themselves.
In terms of history and culture, Turkey has been home to many civilisations, so there is a wide range to see. I would say to all handball fans: “Come to Turkey, enjoy yourself, enjoy our hospitality and enjoy seeing the handball stars of tomorrow!”
Photo: (L-R) Deniz Hakki Tanin, Foreign Relations, Turkish Handball Federation, Michael Wiederer, Secretary General, European Handball Federation, Tor Lian, President, European Handball Federation