The USA Men’s Jr Team is in Tunja, Colombia for the IHF Trophy Continental Championship. The IHF Trophy is a series of tournaments for developing nations that is played throughout the world. This tournament features the winners of the 4 regional tournaments that have been previously played.
USA: North American Zone
Martinique: Caribbean Zone
Guatemala: Central American Zone
Colombia: South American Zone
The 4 teams will play a round robin and then the bottom 2 teams will play for 3rd and the top 2 teams will play for 1st. The winner will then advance to the final Intercontinental tournament where they will play the winners of the other continental championships.
The USA had been scheduled to start play on Tuesday, but the game had to be postponed due to heavy rains and a leaky roof making the court unplayable. The game will now be made up on Friday. Depending on the standings this rescheduling could put the U.S. at a disadvantage for the Championship game as both Colombia and Martinique will have a rest day while the USA and Guatemala play. Martinique beat Colombia 31-27 on Tuesday prior to the rain storm.
The USA team will include several of the players that competed in the Jr Championship last month in Paraguay. This team narrowly missed out on qualification for the World Jr Championship so they should have a solid chance of winning this tournament for developing nations. Martinique, which is a Department of France, however, has a strong handball tradition and could field a quality side. For all we know, there could be a future Joel Abati, who was a mainstay on the French National Team for 14 years, playing for them. Colombia, as host, also should not be counted out particularly when playing in Tunja, which has an altitude of 9,200 ft.
USA Match Schedule (Revised)
Wednesday, 26 April, 1700 (Local), 1800 (EDST) USA vs Colombia
Thursday, 27 April, 1900 (Local), 2000 (EDST) USA vs Martinique
Friday, 28 April, 1500 (Local), 1600 (EDST) USA vs Guatemala
Saturday, 29 April, 1100 (Local), 1200 (EDST) Bronze Medal Game
Saturday, 29 April, 1500 (Local), 1600 (EDST) Gold Medal Game
Web Stream: Link
IHF Trophy website: Link
PHF Competition website: Link