Brazilian beach handball coach, Antônio H. Guerra Peixe, is at the 2013 European Beach Handball Championships in Randers, gathering valuable knowledge about the level of the sport in Europe
"We wish for beach handball being included in the Olympics"
While the European beach handball elite gathers in Randers to battle it out for the European crown, one man is already preparing himself and his team for upcoming challenges.
Antônio H. Guerra Peixe, head coach of the current beach handball world champions, Brazil, is onsite in Randers to keep up with the latest developments in European beach handball.
"Beach handball on Europe is on a good level. We have the World Games in Cali coming up as well the 2014 World Championships, so for us it is important to know what the standards are, whether there is further development of the sport in Europe," he told eurohandball.com.
Out of the five world championship that have taken place so far since 2004, Brazil have won three event's in the men's (2006, 2010 and 2012) and two events in the women's category (2006 and 2012).
"South American teams in general are in developing phase. For example, if Venezuela played here in Randers, they would probably among the best eight teams," Peixe said.
"The standard in Brazil in general is so high because Brazil has been playing beach handball from the very beginning.
"There are a lot of possibilities to train. The standard at the national championships is high and they are very competitive. From there we choose the best players for our national team."
In Guerra Peixe's eyes, whenever Brazil meet any of the European teams it is also a clash of playing styles.
"The main difference between the European game and the Brazilian game is that in Brazil the players go more for the in-flights, while in Europe they go for more the spin shots."
Beach handball a major crowd puller in Brazil
With 2016 Olympic Games being hosted by Rio de Janeiro, and beach handball now being a part of the World Games, which can potentially be a stepping stone for sports into the Olympic sports programme, Guerra Peixe wishes that beach handball will become an Olympic discipline before too long.
"It is a political question, but, of course, we would like to see beach handball as an Olympic discipline," he said.
"Brazil fully supports the idea and tries to talk to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) whenever possible.
"In Brazil, when you have two good teams playing indoor handball against each other, you might have 500 or 1,000 people watching.
"But if you put up a good beach handball competition at Copacabana, you might have 5,000 to 10,000 people watching."
The head coach will stay in Randers until the tournament's final day.
"In the men's Russia, Hungary and Ukraine are my favourites. Maybe Norway, but that would be a surprise," he said.
"In the women's event Hungary, Denmark, Spain and Ukraine have the best chances.“
(Main photo courtesy of Axel Heimken)
TEXT: EHF / ts
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