Draw result for the Olympic handball tournament in London
Attended by more than 80 invited guests and with huge media coverage, the team captains of the British Olympics teams, John Pearce and Lynn McCafferty, drew the groups of the 2012 London Olympic Handball tournaments. The draw was conducted by Leon Kalin, Chairman of the IHF COC Commission, and Miguel Roca Mas (First IHF Vice President) – both of them International Technical Delegates of the Olympic Handball Tournament.
The British women’s team captain Lynn McCafferty drew a really tough group for the men, with the four semi-finalists of the previous European championship: Denmark (European champion), Serbia (Silver medalist), Croatia (Bronze medalist) and Spain, host of the 2013 Men’s World Championship. The other teams in the group are Hungary and South-Korea.
On the other hand, defending Olympic and World champion France can feel lucky with Sweden, Iceland, Great Britain, Argentina and Tunisia as their opponents in the preliminary round.
The women’s preliminary groups are a little more equal, but will include a ‘replay’ of the final of the 2011 World Championship - France vs. Norway will take place in the first stage of this tournament. Besides World Championship Bronze medalist Spain and three times Olympic champion Denmark, Sweden and South-Korea are also in Group B.
Four times World champions and 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Russia will face Montenegro, Croatia, Great Britain, Brazil and Angola in Group A.
The four best ranked teams of each of those groups will qualify for the quarter-finals.
IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa, who opened the draw event with a short speech, is really looking forward to the Olympic Handball competition, which will take place from 28th July to 12th August: “We will see attractive matches and decisions in London, both in the men’s and the women’s tournament. I hope that the teams of Great Britain will show their improvement since they started playing seven years ago.”
Debbie Jevans, Sports Director of the 2012 London Olympic Games, praised the co-operation of the Olympic organizers with the IHF and the British Handball Association: “It’s a pleasure to work with the IHF and Dr. Moustafa.” Jevans hopes that the legacy of handball will last long after the Olympics: “The fact that handball was the first sport to be sold out in London shows the huge interest in Britain.”
John Brewer, President of the British Handball Association, mentioned the “long journey” the British Olympic teams have been on since 2005, when London was named as the 2012 Olympic host: “Those teams will show a great performance, even though we know that we are not the favourites in London. But our participation at the Olympics is an opportunity to promote our sport and get kids and youngsters interested.”
Both British National team coaches Jesper Holmris (women) and Dragan Djukic (men) could choose their preliminary round groups after the first five pots had been drawn. “We are well prepared for the Olympics, and I’m really excited before this tournament”, Holmris said, and Djukic added: “The Olympics in London will be the best handball tournament ever – and we are so proud that we can be part of it and will try our best.”
Group A: Montenegro, Russia, Croatia, Great Britain, Brazil, Angola
Group B: Norway, Spain, Denmark, France, Sweden, South-Korea
Group A: France, Sweden, Iceland, Great Britain, Argentina, Tunisia
Group B: Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Denmark, South-Korea
TEXT: Björn Pazen