26.06.2009, 01:45
Hopp Schwiiz, Heia Norge!

Larvik rings to the sound of the latest tunes and hundreds of young fans.

Above the beat of the latest tunes from the DJ in the Larvik Beach Arena, the cries and cheers of hundreds of young children can be heard as they support ‘their’ teams.

Young fans at Beach Euro 2009The event’s organisers, the Norwegian Handball Federation, have gone out of their way to ensure a warm welcome for participating teams.

Each nation have been given their own group of young supporters, a local SFO (Skolefritidsording) or after school club.

Colourful support

They are easy to spot around the Beach Arena, waving their team’s flags, t-shirts emblazoned with national flags and slogans such as ‘Hopp Schwiiz, Vamos Espana and Naprijed Hrvatska’ as well as faces painted with their team’s national colours.

The young supporter project started well before the start of the championship, with local children drawing pictures and creating banners to support their team, and the results of their efforts can be seen as a colourful addition around the main court in Larvik (photo below).

But it is hard work being a Beach Handball fan, two to three games every day in the blazing sun is a true commitment, but underlines the enthusiasm for the Beach Euro in Norway.

The biggest problem according to SFO leader, Elin Wik Landmark, however, is not the heat and the number of games, but what to do when your team meets Norway in the competition.

Her children from the Jordet SFO in Stavern (pictured above), a small town three kilometres away from Larvik have been supporting the Swiss women throughout the championship and had to make that difficult decision this morning when the two teams met in their Main Round match.

Childrens banners at Beach Euro 2009“In the end we had no choice,” she told eurohandball.com, “we had to support both teams.”

Final weekend

Some 500 children from local SFO's have been here supporting their teams, joined by thousands more local supporters cheering all the teams in the Beach Euro.

Handball fans still hoping to catch the action in Norway have just a few days left. Today (Friday) is the final day of the Main Round, with Quarter Finals and Semi Finals on Saturday and Finals all day Sunday.

Entry is free and a large crowd is expect to descend on Larvik on a traditional holiday weekend in Norway.

TEXT: JJ Rowland

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