No NBA for your Memorial Day?  No Problem – The HBL’s Got You Covered       

Flensburg hosts Rhein-Neckar in a match that will likely determine the German Bundesliga Champion

I’ve written before about how superior the NBA playoff “Best of 7” format is and how I dream of handball providing the same experience. Link

This year, however, due to the dominance of Golden State and Cleveland the playoff format has been an incredible dud.  Golden State is 12-0 with three 4-0 sweeps.  Cleveland is 12-1.  I’m hopeful for another epic Finals, but we’ve got to wait till Thursday for Game 1.  Not watching hoops on Memorial Day weekend just seems out of place.

Fortunately, the German Bundesliga has got you covered with a clash between 1st place Rhein-Neckar and 2nd place Flensburg.  The match was played on Sunday, but is available “on demand”.

Going into the match Rhein-Neckar was at 27-2-1 with 55 points and Flensburg was right behind at 26-2-2 with 54 points.  Earlier in the season Flensburg beat Rhein-Neckar 21-17, their only home loss in the HBL.  And, Flensburg plastered Rhein-Neckar 33-23 in the semifinals of the German Cup.  With the home court advantage Flensburg will be looking to make it 3-0 against the Lions and leap frogging them in the standings for first place.

The season won’t be over after this match with each team having 3 more matches.  That being said whoever wins will be in total control of their destiny. This is about a close as you can get to a title match for the German Bundesliga Championship

Flensburg vs Rhein-Neckar Video:  Link

 

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A Handball Night in Paris

 

Watching handball at Halle George Carpentier in Paris

Watching handball at Halle George Carpentier in Paris

Team Handball News contributor, Altay Atli, was in Paris a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to meet and watch Paris St. Germain in action.  Here’s his take on that experience.

Woody Allen’s 2011 film “Midnight in Paris” takes the protagonist on a phantasmagoric journey to the literary scene of 1920’s Paris, where he meets the giants of the written word within the mesmerizing setting of the City of Lights. He goes back and forth between reality and fantasy, enjoying at every step the company of the geniuses of the craft. Paris is a city, one of the very few of its kind in the world, where the real thing can be more exciting than imagination. And these days, she can offer a dreamlike experience for handball fans too, as the local team began to shine bright on the international scene with a number of world-class players recruited this year. The author of this essay had a “handball night in Paris”, an experience with some of the best handball players of the globe that was almost as surreal as Woody Allen’s lead character’s encounters with the likes of Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald.

Well, actually it was two nights. A visit to the training of Paris St. Germain, the French champions of 2013-2014, on a Saturday night, and the excitement of a EHF Champions League match between the Parisians and the Spanish Naturhouse La Rioja on Sunday night, with an obligatory indulgence of Paris in autumn between the two.

Paris St. Germain is an old club with a new handball team. The soccer side of Les Rouge-et-Bleu was founded in 1970 and it is now one of the most successful teams in Europe. The club launched its handball branch in 2012 through an acquisition of another club, Paris Handball, and it managed to win the French title in its first year. With serious investment in players and infrastructure, the clubs is already aiming to join the elites of European handball. This year’s squad includes stars like Daniel Narcisse, Mikkel Hansen, Thierry Omeyer, Luc Abalo, Robert Gunnarsson, William Accambray to name a few. If you have a team like this, you aim nothing less than the European throne.

Just like Woody Allen’s character went to Montmartre to meet with the giants of literature in what was half a dream and half fantasy, we went to the Halle George Carpentier in the 13th arrondissement to see the stars of handball practicing, and to conduct an interview with Daniel Narcisse for the Turkish handball journal Hentbol Magazin. It is indeed dreamlike if you sit together with Narcisse—Olympic, World, European Champion and IHF World Handballer of the Year—over a cup of coffee before the training and chat about handball. “We want to become a club like Barcelona and Kiel,” said the talented handballer who is known among fans as Air France due to his ability to jump high and score goals over the defensive block, “we want to finish every competition we are taking part at the top rank.” Watching the training of the team, seeing how professional they are, how they can combine their individual skills into smooth and efficient team play, one can clearly see that this team has the potential to achieve its objectives.

The idea of being a team is very much in the foreground here, and Narcisse’s words clearly show the mentality behind. This is a handballer who has won everything that is out there, yet you can see how strong the fire is burning in him. “It is about living the moment,” says he, “the moment of victory, and sharing it with your teammates on the field. The titles, the medals, they are all a part of the adventure that you want to live. And not only them, but also preparing for the competitions, this is an emotionally intensive process you want to live through with your teammates, and it is as a team that you are achieving your goals.” Narcisse reminds us “every competition is different, and there is always surprise, you always come across new things, and this is what adds beauty to our sports.” After talking to Narcisse, you understand how champions are made: it is about never having enough, keeping on working, keeping on winning, never giving up, and having the same excitement and same energy every time you step on the field. This is indeed an adventure, one that begins anew with every competition, with every match, and even every training session; an adventure that one goes through together with his or her mates.

A brief chat with goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer before the training started has been the icing on the cake. The French national goalie, who is also known as Titi, is one of the coolest players on the court, he is as cold as ice when he is expecting a shot. But when he saves the shot, he knows how to celebrate, sharing his victory with the bench and the spectators, with an explosive fist raised to the sky and a war cry, maintaining energy and the concentration at top level, sharing it with teammates and proving once again who is the best between the goal posts.

The next evening, we were back in the George Carpentier, to watch Paris St. Germain against Naturhouse La Rioja in a Champions League match. The two thousand spectators who filled stands enjoyed handball at its best. The Spaniards tried hard to keep the balance on the field, but the Parisians, led by the brilliant playmaking performance of the super-Dane, Mikkel Hansen, did not give them a chance. Hansen, Narcisse and Co. worked as a merciless scoring machine and at times when this machine slowed down, Titi was solid in goal, preventing the Spanish side from closing the gap on the scoreboard. At one point during the second half the gap had widened to twelve goals, and the coach, Philippe Gardent, threw in the youngsters to gave them to opportunity to gain experience. When the referee blew the final whistle it was 32:25 for the Parisians.

The quality of handball was accompanied by spectator entertainment in the hall, which made the whole thing a real fun experience for those who came to support to team. Songs, performances and NBA-like accompaniments like cheerleading and welcoming the players to the court one by one with flashing lights and fireworks definitely add to the mood in the hall. And of course the food and drinks; but here it was slightly different from the experience in the United States. When you are watching sports in Paris, you can actually get crêpes to munch on during the game!

Talking to Paris St Germain’s world-class players, listening to their thoughts on the meaning of handball, and watching them in action has truly been an unforgettable experience. Paris has a strong team, big ideals, and the potential to reach its objectives. When you are in Paris, there is something as exciting as climbing the Eiffel Tower or strolling through the Champs-Élyseés, that you can do: Watch world class handball; handball à la parisienne!

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Christer’s Corner

Christer's Corner

Congratulations to Team Handball News contributor Christer Ahl who has a new featured column with Play the Game organization.  “Play the Game” is an international conference and communication initiative aiming to strengthen the ethical foundation of sport and promote democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in sport. “Christer’s Corner” will tackle issues related to fair play and corruption in sports.  His first column addresses whether the expectation for fair play in the realm of sports is realistic or any different from other aspects of society.

Christer’s Corner: Corruption in sports – are we too naïve, and who cares?:  Link

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The legend, now in bookstores

Svetlana Kitic in action, and the cover of her biography

Svetlana Kitic in
action, and the cover of her biography

By Altay Atli

Handball biographies are a rare commodity, probably because publishers do not see any profits in this genre, or also because retired world-class handball players do not bother to put into writing their experiences and reflections on the sports. A recent exception provides a gem of story of a life devoted to handball.

The biography of Svetlana Kitic, a former Yugoslav handball player who is officially designated by the International Handball Federation as the “world’s best female handball player of all times”, is a must read for all handball enthusiasts. Titled “Ceca” after Kitic’s nickname, the biography written by Svetlana Vujcic, journalist and former teammate of Kitic, tells us the story of a woman who rose to the top against all odds, gave her all for the sports she loved and played at the competitive level for more than three decades. “There were good and bad days, tears, broken fingers, noses, jaws, but I would go through all that again”, says Kitic, “Handball is simply my life, the thing which fulfills me the most and makes me happy. If I wasn’t like that I wouldn’t have played it until I was 49. Yes, if I was born again, I would live my life exactly the same.”

The biography tells us actually two stories that are interwoven throughout. First there is the story of Kitic the legend, a handball player par excellence, who won a total of 21 club titles; silver and gold medal in the Olympic Games, Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 respectively; gold, silver and bronze medals in world championships; and played a total of 202 games for the Yugoslav national team scoring more than 900 goals. Throughout the book, we trace her path, from the very early days in the Bosnian town of Tuzla when she “irresistibly resembled Pippi Longstocking”, to her beloved club Radnicki in Belgrade and on to clubs in Germany, Italy (where she was known as “Maradona in skirt”) and Spain before moving back home. We watch her developing a style, with her feints that break down the defense, her blind passes and bullet-like shots from the knee level sharply to the upper corners of the goal. We watch her perfecting her games, winning games and hearts, sometimes also making “the dumbest mistake, ruin the game, miss a goal many times” but “never tolerating surrender and lack of competitiveness.” Her exploits with the Yugoslav national team provide us with an in-depth overview of not only a successful athlete’s career, but of the history of European handball itself.

Then there is the other story: Kitic the human. What is a perfectly functioning and merciless goal-scoring machine on the handball court has a human face on the outside, with all her desires, fears, frustrations and, well, love affairs. Kitic got married four times and we see in the book that her relationship with her partners have frequently gone through turbulent times. Adding to this, the problems she had with clubs and the federation, with individuals in the handball world, financial troubles and externally induced situations such as the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999, we see Kitic trying to stand on her feet, never giving up, and surviving to score another round of goals in the next match. Whenever she needs solace she finds it in two places: her children and handball: “Handball didn’t take anything from me, fooled or deceived me, like people are capable of doing. It gave me everything in the world, and by making magic, it made… me.”

Kitic’s is a life of ambition, struggle and endurance. It is a life of handball. As Serbian coach Milorad Milatovic wrote, hers is a “story about the greatest female handball player of all times, the mother of three, wife and grandmother, the story about a great woman.”

A personal note: Zhongshan, southeast China, the year is 1999. The World Junior Women’s Handball Championship is in progress. Turkey and Yugoslavia are in the same group. Svetlana Kitic is the manager of the Yugoslav team, and the author of this article has the same job with the Turkish team… A talk I had with her, over a cup of rice wine, has been an amazing lesson for me on handball and life. It has been a real privilege, but for those who haven’t had it, the book, which is available in both English and Serbian, is recommended.

And a question to readers: Handball biographies, though they do not exist in large numbers, are/can be a source of both knowledge and inspiration for handball lovers, especially for young players. So, dear reader, whose biography would you like to read the most?

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Youth action in the Mediterranean

 

Egypt won the Mediterranean title, beating Tunisia

Egypt won the Mediterranean title, beating Tunisia

Guest columnist, Altay Atli, is a lecturer in international relations and economics based in Istanbul, Turkey.  Altay is a former handball player, a former handball manager, a former handball journalist and forever, a handball fan.  His work involves a considerable amount of travel and the opportunity to see handball played in many parts of the world.  In this article he reports on the recently completed Mediterranean Handball Championship and its emphasis on youth development.

Last week, Chieti, a small town in Central Italy a few miles away from the Adriatic Sea, hosted the Mediterranean Men’s Handball Championship. Eight countries littoral to the Mediterranean, namely Cyprus, Egypt, France, Italy, Libya, Montenegro, Tunisia and Turkey, took part in the event, which was won by Egypt after a penalty shootout thriller against Tunisia (36:34). The championship went largely unnoticed in international sports media, something that can be attributed to the fact that the championship was for under 17s. However thanks to the live streaming provided by the organizers a large audience could enjoy the quality of handball played in Chieti.

This championship makes us rethink the feasibility and the merits of regional events that include participants from more than one continental federation. At professional level international handball, each continental federation has its own busy schedule, which, when global events such as the world championships and the Olympic Games are also taken into consideration, seldom leave any space for regional events in a tightly packed calendar. This is why events like the quadrennial Mediterranean Games fail to attract the crème of the region’s handball to their ranks. Given the hectic schedule of professional sports, developed handball countries either prefer to take their reserve teams to such events or they do not participate at all. The most recent version of the Mediterranean Games, held in June 2013 in Mersin, Turkey, illustrates this trend. In the men’s competition, which was won by Egypt, handball giants like France and Spain did not even take part, while in the women’s competition, which was won by Serbia, developed countries (such as France) either did not participate or competed with junior teams. For instance, from the 16 players Serbia had in Mersin, only five made it to the roster that played the final of the World Championships in December.

In other words, at the senior/professional level, regional events such as those organized in the Mediterranean, do not offer a bright prospect. However, at a lower level, they can be meaningful. The Mediterranean Handball Confederation, which operates since 2003, organizes the Mediterranean Championships on an annual basis for both men and women, and these events are, as the web site of the confederation suggests, “preferably reserved to young athletes.” If the focus had been on senior teams, both the confederation and the championship could have been doomed to irrelevance in the face of the increasingly competitive and commercialized environment of professional handball. By targeting the youth, however, they can serve the sports in other, more purposive ways

First and foremost, the Mediterranean Championship can help the development of handball by providing talented young players with the opportunity to gain international experience. In Chieta, all the players, and particularly those from countries like Libya and Cyprus which do not have strong national competitions, gained high level competitive experience, while some of them including Egypt’s Hassain Anis, Tunisia’s Ghachem Oussama and Turkey’s Halil Ibrahim Ozturk, managed to win international recognition thanks to their successful performance. In the meantime, the championship also offered a platform for young referees to make a debut in international handball. The final match was umpired by the young Italian couple Francesco Simone and Pietro Monitillo, who are on EHF’s candidate referees list, and together with two more couples from Italy, two from France and one each from Turkey and Tunisia, they have taken an early important step in their careers. In brief, the Mediterranean Championship contributed and is likely to continue to do so for the development of handball by giving young players and referees the opportunity to perform at the international level and enter the spotlight.

Youth handball development in the Mediterranean is also important at a different level. The region in question has been going through a difficult period. Southern Europe is still suffering from a financial crisis and youth unemployment is a painful fact of this region. Northern Africa is undergoing a transformation in the post-Arab spring period and the youth is at the center of this process as well. The Asian coast of the Mediterranean, not represented in Chieti, is currently the most problematic part, with the civil war going on in Syria without an end in sight. Empowerment of the youth is a vital requisite for restoring stability in the region, and youth interaction through sports, culture and education, both within and between countries, is the key here. Handball cannot create miracles in this respect, but its contribution can be useful.

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Handball News Summary (26 December 2013)

Coach Stefansson at training session with Reykjavic's Valur Club

Coach Stefansson at training session with Reykjavic’s Valur Club

Commentary:  Outside of handball’s stronghold in Europe only the occasional story ever gets published in mainstream news outlets.  Case in point, you would find nothing about the Brazilian women’s World Championship title run in American news outlets.  Recent stories by CNN International and the Dallas Morning News are the exception and bizarrely they both highlight playing handball with makeshift balls made out of socks.

1) VIDEO:  Iceland’s Olafur Stefansson featured on CNN’s Human to Hero series.  The 3 minute feature on Iceland’s retired star discusses his playing career and his current role as coach of Iceland’s Valur club.
CNN: Iceland’s Handball Hero: Link
CNN VIDEO: Link

2) Dallas Stars Hockey club plays street handball.  Lacking a rink, the NHL’s Dallas Stars played team handball outside their hotel in Los Angeles as a team building exercise.
Dallas Morning News: With rink unavailable, Stars instead practice with handball game in LA streets: Link

3) Al Jazeera buys IHF TV Rights for 2014-2017.  Al Jazeera reportedly will pay $110M for the rights to IHF Championships through 2017.  This is a 64% increase over the $67M paid by UFA for the 2010-2013 TV Rights.
Inside the Games: Link

4) USA Team Handball announces Dr. Harvey Schiller as its new Board President.  On 20 December the 9 member board elected the former USOC Executive Director as its new President.  Dr. Schiller is easily the most high profile President USA Team Handball has ever had and his election could help raise the profile of the sport in the U.S.
USATH Press Release: Link
Inside the Games: Link
Sports Business Daily: Link
THN Commentary on new Board Members: Link

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Handball News Summary (17 December 2013)

An exuberant LA Team celebrates their title in El Salvador.

An exuberant LA Team celebrates their title in El Salvador.

1) Laser pointers target Korean penalty shot takers. During yesterday’s match between Serbia and South Korea, laser pointers were used to distract Korean shooters.  No word yet as to repercussions and actions planned to prevent it from happening in Wednesday’s quarterfinal match.
VG Sporten: Link
2) Brazil secures extra slot for Pan American Federation for 2015.   Brazil’s 29-23 victory over the Netherlands means that 4 nations from Pan America will qualify for the 2015 Women’s World Championships in Denmark.
IHF: Link
3) Guatemala qualifies for Men’s Pan American Championships in Uruguay.  Guatemala dominated the Central American qualification tournament winning all 4 of its matches by an average of almost 20 goals.
El Salvador Federation Page: Link
4) LA Women’s Club wins Women’s Competition in El Salvador.  The Los Angeles Women’s Team Handball Club won
El Salvador Federation Page:  Link
5) USA Federation adds newsletter.  USA Team Handball posted the first edition of its new month newsletter.  This month’s version provides a year in review of 2013
USA Team Handball December 2013 Newsletter:  Link
6) Handball-World interviews USA Women’s Coach.  Christian Latulippe discusses U.S. plans for residency programs, development of the sport in Alabama and 2015.
Handball-World: Link
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Handball News Summary (10 December 2013)

Sally Potocki, who plays for Dortmund in the German 2nd division has been a bright spot for the Australians at the World Championships.

Sally Potocki, who plays for Dortmund in the German 2nd division has been a bright spot for the Australians at the World Championships.

1) Australia Women struggle against top foes, but look forward to win opportunities later in the President’s Cup.   Handball-World and the IHF site both have articles on the Australian Women’s team.
Handball-World: Link
IHF:  Link
2) Asian Men’s Championship Draw Results.   The 10 nations have been drawn into two groups of 5 for the championships that will take place in Bahrain from 25 January to 6 February.
Tehran Times: Link
3) Lars Christiansen reveals that he has struggled with depression and anxiety.  In a recently published book, the retired Danish national team player highlights how depression and anxiety made playing a challenge in the latter stages of his career.
Handball-World:  Link
4) Copa El Salvador to determine Central American participant for Men’s Pan American Championship.  Starting today, 5 Central American nations will play a round robin tournament in San Salvador to determine which side will advance to the Pan American Championships this summer in Uruguay.  There will also be a Women’s competition with the Los Angeles Women’s club participating.
El Salvador Website:  Link
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Handball News Summary (28 November 2013)

Canadian Women in action against Bulgaria.

Canadian Women in action against Bulgaria.

1) The IHF Trophy (Intercontinental Phase) is taking place in Monterrey, Mexico.  The IHF Trophy is a development initiative of the IHF focused on providing youth competitions for developing nations.  This final phase has the continental champions in competition against each other.

Mexico Federation Webpage: Link (Currently has standings, score sheets and links to video (live and on demand)

2) Nikola Karabatic seeks to collect incentive pay from his former club.  Barcelona backcourt Nikola Karabatic is seeking payment of 58,000 Euro bonus that he is owed from his former club, Montpellier. Former players, Mladen Bojinovich and Mikael Robin are also seeking payment for bonuses as well.  Karabatic was at the center of a betting scandal which saw Montpellier lose the first half of a match versus Cesson in 2011.
Handball World: Link
Mundo Handball: Link

3) Qatar announces roster for Asian Championships.  Qatar has bolstered its roster with former French National, Bertrand Roine, Spaniard, Borja Fernández Vidal and Cuban Rafael Da Costa Capote
Handnews.fr: Link

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Handball News Summary (18 Nov 2013)

USA National Team athletes pose with Aubie, the Auburn University mascot.

USA National Team athletes pose with Aubie, the Auburn University mascot.

1) Austria’s Hypo eliminated from Champions League. This past weekend the Austrian women’s club, Hypo Niederösterreich lost to Germany’s Thüringer HC 34-25 and for the 2nd straight year failed to advance out of Group Play. The Hypo Club has 7 Brazilian National Team players on it’s roster and is coached by the Brazilian National Team Coach, Morten Soubak. This poor result calls into question the success and future of the unique relationship the club has with the Brazilian Federation.

Review of the Hypo-Brazil Relationship at Mundo Handball: Link
Christer Ahl assessment from 2011 on the Hypo-Brazil agreement: Link

2) Can the Cuban Men and Women qualify for 2016 Olympics? Ruben Gomez at Mundo Handball reviews their recent performance at the Caribbean Cup and assesses their chances for 2016.
Mundo Handball(Spanish) Link http://blog.mundohandball.com/2013/11/que-tiene-cuba-le-alcanza-para-llegar.html

3) USATH holds first Board Meeting since Dec 2012. The USA Team Handball Board of Directors met on October 14th and the minutes from the meeting have been posted on the Federation website. The minutes note that the Nominating and Governance Committee has selected 3 new independent Board Members. Further dialogue with CEO Matt Van Houten has indicated that they should be formally announced in the near future.
USATH October 14, 2013 Board Meeting Minutes: Link

4) Auburn holds welcome ceremony for USA Team Handball Residency Programs. Last Friday, the Auburn University Kinesiology Department and the Auburn Team Handball Club formally welcomed USA Team Handball and its Residency Programs to Auburn.
Auburn Team Handball Club Facebook photos of welcome event: Link

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Handball News Summary (11 November 2013)

The Dominican Republic Men with the Caribbean Cup trophy.

The Dominican Republic Men with the Caribbean Cup trophy.

1) Caribbean Cup final results. This past weekend the Caribbean Cup ended with the Cuban women and Dominican Republic men taking first place. The Cuban women were particularly impressive with 2 wins over the host and World Championship bound Dominicans. The Cuban men were also competive, but lost to the hosts Dominicans 31-29.
Written summary at Handball-World: Link
Wiki page with results, match forms and video links (Mundo Handball): Link

2) Cuban player confirms desire to return to International Competition. In an interview on the Argentinian Handball podcast, Cuban Jorge Luis Pavan who currently plays for Naturhouse La Rioja in the Liga Asobal confirmed that Cuban players playing professionally in Europe who had previously defected are interested in again representing Cuba in international competition.
Handball de Primera (Spanish): Link

3) Cuban Rafael Capote to play in Qatar. Pavan’s club teammate, Rafael Capote, pending the results of a physical, will be transferred to Qatari club, El Jaish. Further speculation is that he may end up obtaining Qatari citizenship and playing for Qatar when that nation hosts the 2015 World Championship.
Mundo Handball (Spanish): Link

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Handball News Summary (4 November 2013)

Luc Abalo shows his dance moves.

Luc Abalo shows his dance moves.

1) Friendly match results. This past weekend saw many national teams playing friendlies in preparation for the European Championship, Africa Cup and South American Games. Here’s a composite summary mostly taken from several match reports at Handball-World: Link

Super Cup in Hamburg, Germany (Germany, Sweden, Poland, Egypt): Germany won all 3 of its matches and Poland edged Sweden for second place. Egypt lost all 3 and only managed to play Poland close.

Golden League in Oslo, Norway (Norway, Denmark, France, Croatia): Denmark and France won 2 of 3 matches, while hosts Norway and Croatia finished 1-2. Norway surprised Denmark with a 32-26 victory.

Tournament in Hammamet, Tunisia (Tunisia, Russia, Belarus, Brazil): A closely matched tournament with no game being won by more than 4 goals. Tunisia won the tournament with wins over Russia and Belarus and a draw against Brazil. Brazil had draws against Egypt (23-23) and Belarus (30-30) and lost narrowly to Russia (26-25)

Hungary – Spain: Spain defeated Hungary twice in Hungary, by scores of 30-26 and 29-24

Czech Republic – Serbia. In two matches played in the Czech Republic, the first match was a 29-29 draw and the second one was a 30-25 Czech Republic victory

Austria – Iceland. These two nations played two closely contested matches in Austria. Iceland took the first match 29-28 and Austria won the second match 33-32

Macedonia – Montenegro.  Montenegro edged Macedonia 29-28 in the first match and Macedonia won the second, 26-21.

Algeria: 4 wins vs Czech Republic Clubs: Link

Argentina: Argentina defeated French club, Ivry (34-29) and had a draw against Creteil (26-26)

2) Will Cuban players that previously defected be allowed to play for Cuba? Cuba recently change their laws to allow athletes to play professionally in other countries. Ruben Gomez of Mundo Hanball assesses the impact if those players return to the Cuban National Team
Mundo Handball: Link http://blog.mundohandball.com/2013/11/cuba-con-jugadores-profesionales-en.html

3) Luc Abalo “feels good”. In a video for the organization “Sports Without Borders” Luc Abalo does a James Brown impression..
Hand News: Link

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Handball News Summary (31 October 2013)

President Obama encourage Ivano Balic to come to New York

President Obama encourage Ivano Balic to come to New York

1) President Obama invites Ivano Balic to attend this year’s New York City Big Apple Classic.  In an amusing and obviously doctored video President Obama encourages the Croatian star to attend the New Year’s Eve tournament.  Personally, I would give only about 25% chance as to whether the President is even familiar with the sport of team handball.  This might sound low, but as he’s more of a worldly sports fan it’s probably higher than the average American and significantly higher than any of our previous presidents.
Video:  Link
Big Apple Tournament Facebook Page: Link
THN Article on former Croatian Coach, Lino Cervar meeting then President George Bush:  Link
2) Brazil and Argentina Men’s National Teams with friendly matches and training.  Both Brazil and Argentina are taking advantage of the lull in European club competitions.  With several players playing in France, Argentina is training in Ivry, a suburb of Paris.  Brazil is in Tunisia for a tournament against Tunisia, Russia and Belarus .
Brazil Federation (Portugese): Link
Argentina Federation Page (contains video and written updates for the trip):  Link
3) Brazilian women sweep competition in friendly tournament.  Brazil defeated Croatia (32-23), Norway (28-24) and Hungary (28-26)  in a tournament last weekend in Hungary.  Based on those results they appear to be in top form for the upcoming the World Championships in Serbia this December.  Good news for Pan American nations as a top 9 finish will provide an extra slot for PATHF nations in 2015.
Brazilian Federation (Portugese): Link
4) Puerto Ricans ply their handball trade in Guadalupe.  The French overseas departments of Guadalupe and Martinique have developed several French national team players over the years.  Now their club leagues have become a nearby option for Puerto Ricans to play competitively. Hiraldo Hector Cepeda is the latest, joining his sister, Sheila and Ciris Garcia in Guadalupe
Mundo Handball (Spanish):  Link
5) Chilean is hired gun for Iranian Club.  Chile’s top scorer in many PATHF events, Rodrigos Salinas, is being loaned out by his Spanish Club team, Granollers to an Iranian club for a 10 day stint.  Apparently, he will boost the club’s lineup for an upcoming championship match.
Mundo Handball (Spanish): Link
6) New rules proposed for “over age 35” handball.  Dr. Juan L. Antón-García proposes that the court length be shortened, each team plays with one few player, no physical contact and 4 passes before every shot.  Coach Dale of Hickory High in Indiana would approve of the last concept.  I’m also guessing that defending U.S. National Champions, NYAC, are scoffing at the prospect of special rules for players over the age of 35.  Maybe at  age 55 they’ll consider them.
EHF Periodials: Link