VIDEO REPORT: Søren Simonsen, head of the local organising committee for the Danish Handball Federation, draws a more than positive conclusion of the 2013 European Beach Handball Championships in Randers
"This is beyond our dreams“
Two years of intense work come to a close, when the 2013 European Beach Handball Championships in Randers culminate in the women's and men's gold medal matches on Sunday night (14 July).
For Søren Simonsen, head of the local organising committee for the Danish Handball Federation, all the hard work has been worth it.
"Before the championships we thought about a lot of things: the weather, the performance of the Danish teams and the spectators' attendance. And in the end all of this came together," Simonsen told eurohandball.com.
"Before we went into these games, I would have never imagined the success we had. For me this is beyond our dreams."
From the second day of the Men's and Women's 19 European Beach Handball Championships (5 to 7 July) onwards, beach handball fans and local residents flocked to the event area on the shores of the Gudenå river, filling up the stands of the main court to their maximum capacity of 1,850 in particular for the Danish men's and women's team.
Presenting the event on the highest level possible
For 15 years Simonsen, who is the head of the DHF's development department, has been involved with beach handball.
In 1998, during the sport's very early days, he organised the first Danish national beach handball championships.
In his opinion, the successful staging of the European Championships will help to bring the sport to the next level.
"Our goal was to present beach handball at the highest level, both the game itself but also beach handball as an event," he said.
"And I think especially the latter, beach handball as an event, appealing to young people is a one the main factors that will draw everyone's attention to beach handball.
"I think people in Denmark now see beach handball as a good game and good event. The game will develop within the clubs, there will be more courts. I am speechless."
For Simonsen it was also the presence of Danish top star Hans Lindberg, winner of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2012/13 with HSV Hamburg, that contributed to the success.
"The presence of someone like Hans Lindberg is like the icing on the cake," he said.
"It is very important to have Hans, and right now he is the most famous guy.
"But the other players are doing such a great job, therefore in the future, when Hans doesn't play anymore, beach handball will still be very popular."
Volunteers making the difference
Denmark will host a string of major handball events in the upcoming months and years, including the Women's 19 EHF EURO in August, the Men's EHF EURO 2014 in January and the 2015 Women's World Championship.
And from an organisational point of view there are couple of things, there are a couple of things that Simonsen worked particularly well at the championships in Randers.
"I think we can learn from the tournament's surroundings that made the championships into a true event, but even more important for the success was our concept for volunteers.
"We had packages for three, six and nine days and overall we had 150 to 180 people working for us. It has been fantastic."
TEXT: EHF / ts
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