PREVIEW: It is one of the first sports to start and one of the last in which the medals will be awarded. Here is our look at handball at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Handball gets underway at Rio 2016
The time has come. Four years after France in the men's and Norway in the women's event won gold in the handball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the sport gets underway on 6 August at the Rio 2016 Games.
24 teams, 12 in the men's event and 12 in the women's event, embark on the road to gold. After having topped the podium in 2008 in Beijing as well as in 2012, France's men and Norway's women could write history by becoming winning their third consecutive handball gold.
For the men's event this would be a first, in the women's event Norway would repeat the feat Denmark achieved between 1996 and 2004.
Norway are also the first to get out of the starting blocks at Rio 2016 as they meet Brazil at 9:30 hrs local time on 6 August. The match is straight away a competition highlight as it is not only the encounter between the current, Norway, and the 2013 world champions, Brazil.
It is also the first time Brazil will take to the court in front of their Rio fans at these Olympics (download the playing schedule).
Overall there are eight teams from Europe among the 12 competitors in the women's event.
Women's event preliminary round groups at Rio 2016
At Olympic Games, men's and women's playing days alternate. Hence it is the men's turn on 7 August to take to the court.
Croatia, bronze medallists at the EHF EURO 2016, vs Qatar, silver medallists at the World Championship 2015 in Qatar, opens the competition.
Defending champions France play their first game at 19:50 hrs local time against Tunisia, while EHF EURO 2016 champions Germany take on Sweden at 11:30 hrs local time.
Men's event preliminary round groups at Rio 2016
The first four teams of each group qualify for the quarter-finals which will be played on 16 August (women's event) and 17 August (men's event). The semi-finals take place on 18 and 19 August, the women's final on 20 August, the men's final on 21 August.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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