Pan American Federation Junior and Youth Competitions Underway

4 simultaneous Handball competitions (Men’s and Women Championships for both the Youth and Junior categories) start today in Bluemenau-BC, Brazil and will conclude on 2 September. Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay will be fielding teams in all four tournaments, while teams from Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic will be participating in some of the championships.

The Men’s youth competition will qualify the top two teams for the 2007 World’s Youth Championship in Bahrain. I also think 2 spots will be awarded for the 2007 Junior Men’s World Championships in Macedonia, but the Brazilian website does not specifically mention that.

Handball Junior and Youth Competitions (Basic Organization)

It can be confusing to sort out all the different age-based competitions that Team Handball has on a world-wide and continental level. Here’s a basic primer:

The IHF now organizes 4 age based World Championships (2 for Men and 2 for Women)

Youth World Championships (ages 19 and under) (takes place in odd years 2005, 2007, etc)
Junior World Championships (ages 21 and under) (takes place in odd years 2005, 2007, etc)

Youth World Championships (ages 18 and under) (takes place in even years 2006, 2008, etc)
Junior World Championships (ages 20 and under) (takes place in odd years 2008, 2010, etc)

The age requirement works off the calendar year, so for the upcoming tournaments these are the age restrictions:

2007 Men’s Youth World Championships (Born in 1988 or later)
2007 Men’s Junior World Championships (Born in 1986 or later)
2008 Women’s Youth World Championships (Born in 1990 or later)
2008 Women’s Junior World Championships (Born in 1988 or later)

The different continent federations usually have qualifying competition to determine representatives to the IHF Championships. Often the qualification competition takes place in the year prior to the IHF competition. To keep the same age based team together for the following year’s world championships, the age requirement is one year lower than the IHF requirement. For example, the EHF recently completed a 20 and under Men’s Championships. The teams from Europe that qualified will then compete in the Junior World Championships (21 and under) in 2007.