NEWS FEATURE: Slovenia face Norway for a final spot at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing
All four European teams in YOG semi-finals
Six male and six female handball teams are taking part at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China this week.
So far it has been a success for the four participating European teams, as they finished the preliminary round with a near unbeaten record – and at least one of them will make it to the final.
Only the Norwegian boys’ team was defeated by defending YOG champions Egypt in their opener (27:28). But after leaving Brazil behind 33:31 in their second match, the Scandinavians (qualified for Nanjing as runners-up of the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands) clinched their berth for the semi-finals.
As did the EYOF winners Slovenia after two clear victories in Group B against Tunisia (33:12) and Qatar (38:23)
On Sunday, Norway and Slovenia will compete for a spot in the final, while Qatar vs Egypt is the other pairing.
At the European Youth Olympic Festival Slovenia won the final against their current YOG semi-final opponent by 28:23.
Just like four years ago at the YOG premiere in Singapore, the girls’ competition in Nanjing was fully dominated by European teams. Sweden and Russia finally topped their groups and are the favourites of making it to the final.
The Russian girls (runners-up of the 2013 Women’s U17 EURO in Poland) had no problems in beating Angola 34:21 before they took revenge for their older country-fellows - five weeks after Russia lost the Junior World Championship Final against Korea, the U17 turned the tide by winning against the Asian champions 36:31.
Women's 17 EHF EURO champions Sweden had two easy going preliminary round matches against China (39:14) and Brazil (32:24) to finish top of their group.
The Scandinavians now will face Korea in their semi-final on Sunday, while Russia is the clear favourite against Brazil.
In 2010, the Danish girls (after beating Russia in a thrilling final) and the Egyptian boys were the debutant winners of the handball competitions at the Youth Olympic Games. The best placed European boys team was bronze medallist France.
An overall of 4000 girls and boys from 205 National Olympic Committees aged 15 to 18 currently compete in Nanjing in the 28 sports, which belong to the programme of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
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