As the hosts for the 2011 Men's World Championships, Sweden obviously does not need to participate in the qualifying process which comes to a conclusion in Europe this weekend. So they are taking the opportunity for some 'team building' and physical training, not somewhere up north in Sweden under the 'midnight sun' but in the unusual handball location of the Bahamas!
The following article sheds some light on the specific choice of a resort in Grand Bahama, as there apparently is a link to Swedish handball, and as the Chair of the Grand Bahama Island Tourist Board has a somewhat Swedish-sounding name. http://www.thenassauguardian.com/sports/82863790633734.php Perhaps other handball teams who seek warmer climates for their gruelling training will find a good location here…
As noted in the article, the Swedish team also wanted to play some matches at the end of their training camp. As the opposition might have been a bit thin in the Bahamas, there are press reports to the effect that matches in Atlanta against the USA national team had been agreed but that this somehow fell through at the last moment. Therefore, the final solution was to move on from Grand Bahama to Puerto Rico where matches will be played during the coming weekend.
The Puerto Rican team did not qualify for next week's PanAmerican Championship in Chile, which also determines the final three slots for the World Championship in Sweden. However, they are preparing for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games, the regional event for all Olympic sports that ties in with the Panamerican Games. This event will be hosted precisely by Puerto Rico, so there is a lot of prestige involved in having the Puerto Rican handball team as well prepared as possible. Against this background, the sudden and unexpected proposal for a visit by the Swedish team was very timely.
Puerto Rico has excellent facilities for many different sports in the town of Guaynabo, near the capital, San Juan, as commented in the linked web site: http://www.topuertorico.org/city/guaynabo.shtml In fact, several Panamerican and regional handball events have been organized here in recent years.
It is certainly nice to see that handball countries who normally pursue their progress under very different circumstances find an opportunity to support each other in this way. We hope that this Swedish-Caribbean 'joint venture' will be fruitful for all parties!