The Men’s Junior event also served as qualification for the IHF World Championship this summer. Not surprisingly, the final was between Argentina and Brazil, with the Brazilian visitors pulling off a 25-21 victory. Together with these two teams, Chile gained the remaining slot in the World Championship, by winning the bronze medal game against Puerto Rico b y the score 34-28. Uruguay won 5th place by defeating Venezuela 34-27 and Mexico had an easy time in gaining the 7th place through a 31-18 win against Canada. It is of course pure speculation to discuss how a USA team would have fared if they had participated, but the results and placement of the Canadians may give us a hint.
In the Women’s South American event, it did not exactly come as a surprise that Brazil was able to dominate by easily winning all the games in a round-robin tournament. Argentina came in second, but they were outclassed by Brazil (37-23, half-time 20-5). Uruguay and Paraguay came next in the ranking and qualified for the PanAmerican Championship that will be held in the Dominican Republic in June. Venezuela also qualified, as the best ‘non-elite’ team, even though they actually lost to Chile, under the new, somewhat complex methods of the PATHF. The five successful teams will be joined by the team of the host country, three other representatives from North America/Caribbean and one team from Central America.
PanAmerica has been lagging behind in comparison with the other non-European continents in the efforts to identify and develop refereeing talents for the IHF level. Moreover, the existing group of IHF and Continental couples has been dominated by Argentina and Brazil. This is understandable, as these are the countries where young referees can gain tough match experience, but it creates problems when neutral referees have to be found for the Argentina vs. Brazil battles in all the different categories and events. At this moment, only one iHF couple can be found outside the southern part of our continent, namely Guzman and Perez from Puerto Rico.
The IHF/GRTP course, which could draw on the abundance of matches in the two tournaments, had about ten couples participating under the leadership of the IHF Lecturer Felix Raetz, the PATHF referee chief Salvio Sedrez and numerous lecturers from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Apart from match performances, the final results were also based on rules tests and physical tests. The five couples who gained the Continental status, as a first step in their pursuit of the IHF license were: Paolantoni and Zanikian (ARG-women), Burgos/Delagado (ARG), Magalhaes/Rocha (BRA), Lemes/Sosa (URU) and Joergensen/Posch (USA). We congratulate them and wish them good luck in their continued endeavors!