NEWS REPORT: European teams take the full set of medals at the Nanjing event as Norway and Sweden win bronze.
Slovenia’s boys win Youth Olympics, while Russia’s girls take silver
Headed by the new boys’ champions Slovenia, all four European participants return home from the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China with medals around their necks.
The Russian girls come back as silver medallists, while the bronze medals in the both events were awarded to Scandinavian teams: to the Swedish girls and the Norwegian boys.
Slovenia were the only of in total twelve teams at the second edition of the Youth Olympic Games to finish the event with an unbeaten record of four victories.
In the final the team of head coach Janez Klemencic dethroned defending YOG champions Egypt by a 31:25 (13:11) victory. The match was on the edge until the score of 20:19, then Slovenia scored a 6:0 series to win the first Olympic medal (including senior teams) for the Slovenian Handball Federation.
Following bronze at the Junior World Championships in 2003 and 2009, bronze at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO events in 2004, 2010 and 2012 and gold at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival, the triumph at Nanjing was the biggest success for Slovenian youth handball.
Match winners in the final were goalkeeper Urh Kastelic with 11 saves and top scorers Gal Marguc and Balz Janc with eight goals each.
While the Slovenians were celebrating, the Russian girls received their silver medals slightly disgruntled after an unlucky 31:32 (14:17) final defeat against Korea.
The Asian champions remain the Russian nightmare this summer: Seven weeks after the under-20 team lost the final of the World Championship in Croatia (34:37) against Korea, the same feat happened to the under-18 girls in Nanjing.
And the runners-ups of the Women’s 17 EHF EURO in Poland did not only lose their second straight final against Korea, but also lost their second consecutive YOG final after they had conceded a 26:28 defeat four years ago in Singapore against Denmark.
The final was on the edge with constantly changing leads, absolutely worth a YOG gold medal match.
Nothing was decided until the 56th minute, then Russia (leading 30:29) missed three chances and the Koreans decided the game with a triple strike to 32:30.
In the matches for third place both Scandinavian participants had won bronze: The Swedish girls (Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2013 champions in Poland) beat Brazil 23:16, and the Norwegian boys (runners-ups at the European Youth Olympic Festival) were clearly dominant against Qatar (34:26).
Result summary 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing:
Placement matches 5/6*: China – Angola 18:31 (6:14), 22:22 (8:11)
Bronze medal match: Sweden – Brazil 23:16 (11:5)
Final: Korea – Russia 32:31 (17:14)
Placement matches 5/6*: Brazil – Tunisia 38:31 (23:15), 28:27 (13:12)
Bronze medal match: Qatar – Norway 25:33 (13:19)
Final: Egypt – Slovenia 25:31 (11:13)
*The placement matches were played over two legs.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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