46-7: Why France Had their Foot on the Gas all 60 Minutes vs Australia

France was relentless in their 46-7 victory over Australia. But, for good reason. It’s all hypothetical now, but I’m not even sure that 39 goal beat down was enough.

Not Enough Hours in Day for the Blowout Matches

I’ve been watching a lot of IHF Women’s World Championship Handball the past few days. A lot. Easily the most I ever have, mostly due to the time difference with Japan and my adoption of time shifting. I wake up and I have 6 to 12 matches to watch at my leisure.

But, there aren’t enough hours in a day to watch everything and undermanned Australia taking on the big dogs in the Group of Death was pretty low on my priority list. Seriously, I suspect no handball minnow has ever been put into such a tough and utterly hopeless group.

Some Interesting Handball Math

As I was calculating the different scenarios for Group B this morning, though, I came to realize that there was a distinct possibility that France and Brazil could en up in a two team tie, level on 5 points. And, since they had played to a 19-19 draw the next tiebreaker to decide which team would advance to the Main Round was Goal Differential in All Games Played.

Alas, that scenario didn’t play out. France beat Germany and Denmark beat Brazil. Eliminating Brazil and setting up a winner take all match between France and Denmark to advance to the Main Round.

But… It could well have happened. And, if the matches had turned out differently today the Brazil – Australia match on Friday would have become bizarrely compelling.

Compelling, because Brazil would have had the challenge of beating Australia by around 45-50 goals to catch France on Goal Differential. The exact number of goals needed is speculation, because the results required didn’t happen. Going in to today’s matches France was at +37 and Brazil was at -12 for a total difference of 49. IF France had lost and Brazil had won that difference would have shrunk to at least 47.

That’s a lot of goals. Which got me thinking how did France get such a huge GD? And, of course, the answer is the 46-7 scoreline over Australia earlier in the week. Yes, someone on coach Olivier Krumbholz’s staff was way ahead of me on this possibility. So, out of curiosity I took a closer look at this game I normally would never have given a second thought to.

Not Your Typical Big Fish – Minnow Game

And, sure enough it was not your typical big fish – minnow match. (Hey, I’ve played a few of those and know exactly how they generally play out.) The big fish rests some of his starters for the games later that matter. The minnow plays hard, maybe hangs around a bit, but the scoreline gradually stretches to 5 goals… 10 goals… 15…. 20… at which point the big fish relaxes a little bit. Still plays hard… but, not super hard. Works on his set offense a little bit. Tries some different combinations. The minnow plays hard the whole match. Maybe even does a little bit better than one would expect because the other team is kind of in cruise mode. Depending on the size of the respective fishes the scoreline is typically in the 15-25 goal range.

Uhh… That was not this game. Not even close. France looked to score at every opportunity. They were relentless and really, really pushed the fast break even in the dying minutes of the match. The defense was also strong throughout as Australia only managed 7 goals in 60 minutes. A comprehensive beat down. 46-7. +39 goals. And, you know what. Credit to the Aussies… They played hard the whole way against the defending World Championships. If they hadn’t… I shudder to think what that final margin might have been.

France – Australia Match Video: Link

An Interesting Hypothetical

Which leads to a very interesting hypothetical. France poured it on… just in case. An insurance policy. What if instead, it wasn’t a maybe. But, a no kidding, you must win by 50 goals. How would such a match play out?

Brazil is a bit older and not quite as capable in the run and gun mode as France and France won by 39. To get 11 more goals would require more creativity, essentially more risks. Some possibilities:

  • A basketball style full court press
  • Relentless marking of Australia’s two or three players (with more experience) to force their very inexperienced players into turnovers.
  • 7 v 6 for the entire match
  • Shooting at the first possibility, even if it is kind of a crazy shot just to up the tempo

Would it work? I don’t know. Even more interesting would be Australia’s reaction. Suddenly, no longer playing a meaningless group play match, but now a match with real consequences. And, to an extent being a bit insulted. Pride would surely kick in. You gonna play crazy style against us… maybe will just slow this game down a bit.

Again, I don’t know how this would play out. It sure would have been something to watch though.

I can just picture it: French fans going wild and cheering on Australia as they cut the margin to 45 with a last second goal as the clock expires.

2018 Men’s Asian Handball Championships (Where to Watch)

The 2018 Men’s Asian Handball Championships will start tomorrow (Thursday, 18 January) and conclude on Sunday, 28 January.  The tournament will take place in Suwon, South Korea with 14 nations vying for 3 spots in the 2019 World Championships.  New to the competition will be Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh and it will be interesting to see how they fare.

Also of interest will be clashes between nations that to varying degrees are in some form of political conflict.  The Qatar – Saudi Arabia border has been closed for several months and those two nations will play on Saturday.  Iran has also reportedly been supporting rebel factions in Yemen so a handball clash with some of the Arab nations supporting the government might possibly prove contentious.

Key Links for Following and Hopefully Watching the Competition

A Korean contact has forwarded several links where video should be available.

  • Korean Federation Facebook Site: Link
  • Korean Federation Youtube Site:  Link
  • Naver Video:  Link (sometimes with on demand feeds)

Note:  Online automatic translation often doesn’t translate Korean fully.  I will update and add direct links to videos as they become available.

General Information Sites

  • Asian Handball Federation Website:  Link
  • Wikipedia Page:  Link

Handball and Development in Australia: A New Path

The Australian men's team sing the national anthem before facing Spain at the 2013 Men's World Championship in Spain

The Australian men’s team sing the national anthem before facing Spain at the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Spain

Former Australian national team player now journalist Courtney Gahan weighs in on the IHF decision to exclude Oceania from the 2015 World Championship and just how important international competitions like the WC are to developing handball nations like Australia.

The initial shock felt by the athletes, officials and the Australian and Oceania handball communities at large following the IHF’s decision to withdraw Australia from the 2015 Men’s World Championship in Qatar may have lessened, but the decision brings with it potentially far greater long-term consequences for the development of handball in a region that has always been working against the odds – and what happens next will determine the fate of not only all the athletes, coaches, officials and countless other volunteers who have dedicated years to seeing their sport grow, but of the sport itself.

Despite the rather late nature of the action by the IHF, the decision to remove Oceania’s compulsory spot could be seen as a blessing rather than a curse – provided alternatives for the teams in the region are put into place. Now is a crucial time for handball in Oceania, and it is important that the countries in this region have the support and assistance of the IHF in finding the path that will not be an easy or short one, but will likely take handball in the area to a much better place.

As someone who has been involved in Australian handball for many years, in almost every capacity there is – from national representative to coach to helping start a new club, not to mention a sibling now part of the men’s national team, I have a great deal of experience and care deeply about handball in this region. I also have experience with handball in Europe, having played in the region myself and now as a contributor to the EHF media. These two regions are almost complete opposites when it comes to handball, a fact that has helped me gain a unique point of view of the current status and future of handball.

The question of development

Handball is not alone when it comes to the difficult question of development in Australia, Oceania or even the world. Countless team sports are ahead of handball in terms of participation, spectators and even any sort of basic knowledge of the game. Then there are a number of sports that have traditionally experienced more of a fight for participation, funding and recognition – sometimes only facing one of these problems but oftentimes a combination. And handball is one that suffers from all three of these issues in the Oceania region.

Sadly, there is little that can be done to increase handball’s funding in Australia. The Australian Sports Commission allocates funding to each sport based on performance history and immediate potential – essentially, a sport has to be able to prove it has a chance of winning a World Championship or equally challenging equivalent. Anyone familiar with Australia’s handball results will be aware this is not an immediate possibility for our teams, so we must move on to other options if we hope to develop – greater levels of participation to increase the pool of players from which to draw and more development opportunities for our current athletes.

The question of increased participation is, in my mind, linked to exposure. I feel certain the level of handball knowledge possessed by most of the Australian public would shock those that grew up with it – I guarantee any Australian involved in handball would be unable to count the number of times they have had to explain the sport to someone.

It is not that handball has no place in Australia; almost any sport can be successful in any country provided it has the opportunity to grow. There is no doubt handball can be loved and participated in enthusiastically by Australians – and it is, by those that have already been lucky enough to stumble across it.

Experience is key

In the end, the question of exposure and funding comes back to the performance of our current national teams. When we begin to record results, handball will gain exposure in Australia and bring with it more participants. There are many factors that contribute to the success of a sporting team, but I would like to isolate one key difference between the Australian and Oceanic teams in comparison with other nations that perhaps can be helped – international experience.

The statistics make it easy to see the crucial gap here – a significant discrepancy exists in number of international matches between players of different countries, especially those between teams from Europe and teams from Oceania. At the end of the 2013 Men’s World Championship, Australia team captain, Bevan Calvert, had recorded 39 matches in the national team – almost ten years after his national team debut in 2004. At just 28 years of age, Calvert is also one of the most experienced and long-serving on the team, a fact which highlights the excessively high turnover in our national squads, due in large part to funding concerns for our athletes.

Comparing Calvert’s number of games, which far outnumber most of the other members of the national squad, to players of the same age from other nations is telling. Take Croatia’s Marko Kopljar and Hungarian Kornel Nagy as examples. Both are Calvert’s age, but each has played upwards of 90 matches for their country. Kopljar debuted on the senior Croatia team at the end of 2008, which puts his average number of international games per year at 15.5, versus Calvert’s 3.9. Obviously there are other factors to consider here, but the fact remains that the only international experience Australia’s players get before they board the plane to the World Championship, where they face a completely different level of play on court, is at the Oceania Handball Nations Championship.

The other relevant question is how long each Australian player can persist in pursuing this difficult endeavour; funding has already been mentioned as a major concern for many Australian handball players, but there is also no denying the challenging experience our athletes undergo through a World Championship tournament is another contributor, as beneficial and extremely meaningful as this experience obviously is. This has meant the core group of athletes continually changes as players decide, for one reason or another, to leave the team. Such high turnover prevents our teams from travelling through the various stages of development together or gaining a comparable amount of cumulative individual experience.

Minority sports and their development in Australia

It is not only handball in Australia that faces the problem of gaining experience for its athletes. Australia’s geographical situation puts it in a region where its national teams tend to dominate most sports. This has meant that many of our teams have had to either become competitive on the world stage in isolation or find an alternative way to gain the experience their athletes need to develop.

There are a number of team sports where Oceania is granted a direct qualification spot or two for the World Championship or equivalent, including basketball, water polo and field hockey, but these are sports where Australia is already on the world map in terms of rankings and results. It is those that are or once were minority sports, such as baseball, volleyball and football, which had to forge a new path for their athletes to gain experience.

Football was played in Australia for over fifty years before the first successful attempt at qualifying for the World Cup in 1974. Location made continued improvement difficult and following the 1974 World Cup, Australia did not qualify again until Germany hosted in 2006. In the meantime Australia began participating in the FIFA Confederations Cup, a position they achieved as Oceania Champions. This tournament enabled the Australian players to gain significant experience and opportunity for development.

In 2006, Australia left the Oceania Football Confederation to join the Asian Football Federation. Australia has qualified for the two World Cups that have taken place since they joined the AFF, and despite not yet being widely recognised as a footballing nation, have contributed to the impressive fan base for the sport that continues to grow within Australia.

Australian volleyball has travelled a long road to get where they are now also, participating in the Asian Championships since the 1970s and only beginning to qualify for Olympic Games and World Championships around the 2000s. Whilst the Australian volleyball team may not be one of the world’s strongest, they have certainly found the road to development and have recorded some encouraging results along the way – namely when they upset winners of the 2012 World League, Poland, by recording a 3-1 victory at the London Olympics against a nation that is considered one of the strongest in the sport.

Baseball in Australia began to increase in popularity in the late 70s-early 80s thanks to the outside influence of coaches coming from the USA that helped develop the national championship into a highly competitive event. The national team recorded victories here and there, but achieved their first notable success in 1997 with a bronze medal at the Intercontinental Cup followed by the gold medal at the same competition in 1999. Perhaps the national team’s biggest achievement was their silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but there have also been a number of individual successes that have helped the sport gain interest in Australia and encouraged young players who dreamed of the impossible.

Though each of these stories are different, they draw interesting parallels and their lessons can be extremely beneficial to the potential development of handball in Australia, Oceania and the rest of the world. The most common factor of importance that comes from developing each and every one of these sports is experience – it was only when the national teams and athletes across the country started to gain more experience that Australia began to climb global rankings. No matter which path was taken to gain this experience, another undeniable factor is that the respective organisations received assistance and support from neighbouring federations, international expert coaches or the sport’s global governing body.

It is unfortunate for countries that desire to develop in handball that funding and greater awareness of the sport are of such importance, but surely experience is the one area in which handball federations can work together to give all athletes the opportunity to develop. Playing in more international matches would be invaluable for the Australian players, as it would be for our friends within the region and those countries in other regions that share our hopes and likely are full of the same passionate people we have in Australia.

The most positive outcome of the ‘Qatar incident’ is that it highlights the need for development in minority handball regions. Now is the time to consider how further development in Oceania and across all continents can be achieved. Upon first hearing of the IHF’s decision I admit I was concerned it would prove too discouraging for many within the Australian handball community and the sport might suffer dramatically, but I have been inspired to see each part of the organisation – from the board of the Australian Handball Federation to the athletes, become even more motivated by the possibilities that now lie in front of us. I can only hope our motivation and refusal to be forgotten will lead to opportunity, and that our teams will one day earn their place at the World Championships again.


Australian Bevan Calvert makes his mark in Germany’s 2nd Division


TSV Altenholz teammates hoist Australian, Bevan Calvert after he scores the match winner vs rival HSG Tarp/Wanderup

Last weekend, German 2nd Division side, TSV Altenholz narrowly defeated their nearby rivals HSG Tarp/Wanderup, 20-19.  Scoring the game winning 7 meter penalty shot was Australian, Bevan Calvert.  Calvert, 27 has been a mainstay on the Australian National Team since 2004 and has appeared in 5 consecutive World Championships.

Calvert, who plays right wing  is now in his 5th season with TSV Altenholz and with their promotion last season to the 2nd Division he’s now getting the opportunity to play competitively on a weekly basis in arguably the World’s strongest 2nd Division National League.  So far this season (through 8 matches) he is the team’s 4th leading scorer with 21 goals.

TSV Altenholz – HSG Tarp/Wanderup match writeup:  Link

Eurosport Video:  Link (Calvert is featured in this video on British Handball.  At around 7:30 he’s interviewed as the video examines what the British might learn from the Australian experience in 2004.)

Bevan Calvert Wikipedia page (German):  Link

Video of game winning shot is below.

Alex Gavrilovic: a true fighter for the global progress of handball (Part 2 of 3)

This is a continuation from an earlier installment. Here the focus is mostly on the current situation in Australia and Oceania.

It is then an interesting coincidence that the Australian women’s team is right now going through their final preparations for the women’s world championship in China. So before we get into today’s interview segment, you may want to try this link to an article on the Australian federation’s web site: http://www.handballaustralia.org.au/National%20Womens%20Team.html#Team Naturally, we wish our Aussie friends the very best of luck in this tough competition!

[i]CA: Having continued to play a key role both in your country and in the region, you took over as President of the Australian Handball Federation in 2006. You recently had to resign from that post, due to your upcoming engagement in London. From that perspective, how would you describe overall the current status of handball in Australia? [/i]

AG: As I noted earlier, the overall status of handball in Australia is still that of a “minor” sport. Participation levels have increased overall, particularly in schools, however, this is not translating into significant junior numbers outside the school system. Handball clubs around Australia remain small and composed of dedicated but under-resourced athletes. The State and National teams are remaining competitive but struggle to get financial support, therefore, athlete “burn-out” occurs, particularly in financial terms, with athletes being asked to contribute too much of their own money in support of their national and international competition

[i]CA: What are the stronger aspects and what are the ones that need particular attention?[/i]

AG: Our strongest aspect is that we have a small but dedicated AHF Board, which, although amateur, provides effective leadership for the sport. As a result, local club and State competition tends to be well run although it is low-budget and low profile. We have some excellent athletes competing but, again, the selection pool is small, therefore, it is difficult to send 16 high-quality athletes to international competition and therefore difficult to be truly competitive on the world scene.

Handball in Australia still needs to reach the “tipping point” to become an established broad participation sport. The link between school handball and club handball is still weak or missing. Proper funding of talent identification, elite athlete development, elite training facilities and access to sports science, “institute” programs, regular high level international competition, etc. are still elements that need attention. Australia organises regular international events which are well-run but remain low profile. In summary: more effort is required in broad participation development, elite athlete development and programs and achieving appropriate funding for the sport.

[i]CA: As in so many other sports, Australian handball is affected by its geographic isolation; are there any real ways of compensating for this handicap?[/i]

AG: Yes there is. Clearly the “major” sports of Rugby and Cricket, for example, are continuing to grow and attract teams from around the world. Their advantage is that they have the membership, profile and exposure which ensures sponsorship and funding levels that can sustain events for which the high cost of travel to and from Australia can be overcome. Ultimately, proper funding can compensate for the handicap.

In the meantime, attracting “major” handball nations to Australia for competition is still problematic due to the high cost of coming to Australia, related to our distance from the rest of the handball world. I don’t know that I can “blame” the IHF for that nor that we can expect the IHF to assist us to overcome this issue directly. However, I know that the IHF is keen for Australia to host a World Championship in due time, therefore, there will be another opportunity for the IHF to support the development of the sport in this way.

[i]CA: Also as in other sports, while struggling with its own development and resources, Australia tends to be needed as the ‘engine’ for other countries in Oceania; how do you see the overall development in recent time in Oceania and what can Australia do in this regard?[/i]

AG: I have already indicated that there has been a resurgence of international competition within Oceania and this has proven to be a real boost for us and the other nations in the region. However, issues related to the leadership of the Oceania Handball Federation have, in my opinion, held the development of the sport at a regional level back for many years. I am pleased to say that the Oceania Handball Federation has recently been restructured, new officials elected and a new Constitution adopted. The IHF have made an even stronger commitment to support international events as a result. The current AHF President, Paul Smith, has been elected to the Presidency of the Oceania Handball Federation, to use his words: “at the insistence of the other Oceania nations”, so you can see that Australia is seen very much in a leadership role.

[i]CA: In soccer, Australia decided to join Asia. (And now we have the effect that Australia has qualified for the 2010 World Cup as one of the Asian representatives, while New Zealand just qualified from Oceania.) Has the same idea ever come up in handball? [/i]

AG: Football in Australia is enjoying a great revival. (even to the common use of the name “football” rather than “soccer”!) It has for a long time been a major participation sports in Australia, but this was not reflected in the sport’s profile or international performance. The recent changes, including better structure at the peak, more funding, a new national competition, commitment to elite level performance etc., have been reflected in the national team’s improved results. This of course has re-invigorated public interest. It is still behind Rugby but getting stronger every year. The national team’s exposure to the Asian competition has significantly lifted performance.

There was an idea to emulate Australian football by having Australian handball join the Asian handball zone. This proposal was rejected by the Asian Handball Federation. I sense a fear that Australian handball will eventually improve like it has in many sports and result in a dominant Australia at the cost of other Asian teams in qualifiers for World Championships and so on. The advantage of not being a member of Asia is that there is a direct Oceania handball spot for World Championships which Australia can fill due to its dominance in the region. Whilst I understand the benefits of more competition via the Asian zone, the reality is that Australia would struggle to qualify for World and Olympic Championships via this zone and therefore, having an Oceania place remains very important and valuable to Australia at this time.

Alex Gavrilovic: a true fighter for the global progress of handball (Part 1)

Alex Gavrilovic is not just well-known at home in Australia and Oceania. Many persons around the globe know Alex as the guy who made the handball event in the Sydney Olympics so successful through all his skills and determination, and they are now likely to feel reassured that he will have the same responsibilities in London 2012.

I first met Alex at the pre-Olympic handball event in Sydney in 1999, where my special task was to help train and select the timekeepers and scorekeepers for the Olympics, and from then on I have always liked his positive attitude, his pragmatism and his ability to get things done also in difficult circumstances. Alex was the Competition Manager in 2000, and he is now about to make the transition to a residency and full-time work in London in preparation for the same role in 2012. But he was still very nice about making himself available for a chat about Sydney, London and everything in between. In fact, Alex was so generous with his time that I have decided to divide my chat with him into three installments: first a segment on the experience related to the Sydney Olympics and the impact on the handball situation in Australia, then a broader view of the struggles of Australia and Oceania, and then finally his views on the 2012 Olympics.

[i]CA: I think it was obvious that the Sydney Olympics meant a major lift in terms of getting PR for handball, getting people involved and trained etc; but was it possible to maintain the momentum afterwards and did the Olympics turn out be of great help for handball for the longer term?[/i]

AG: There is no doubt that the one major thing the Sydney 2000 Olympics achieved (and subsequently the coverage provided of the handball event at both Athens and Beijing continued) was the general knowledge of the population about the sport. Before 2000 it would have been hard to meet someone who would immediately know what handball is and confusion with a tennis-ball game played in Australian schoolyards was common. After the Olympics, and to this day, people that I meet generally know the sport and I commonly get the response: “I saw it at the Olympics”, “what a great game” when I tell people that I am involved in handball. This general knowledge about the sport remains the greatest legacy from Sydney 2000 and subsequent Olympics. However, it has not led to dramatic increases in participation in the sport.

[i]CA: In all honesty, I think it is fair to say that the same frustrations were felt in the United States in the aftermath of both the 1984 and the 1996 Olympics; it is really a tough task to counter the lack of traditions and to make headway in the competition against all the established team sports![/i]

AG: Sadly, during the years 1997 – 2006, when handball in Australia received an enormous boost and enjoyed the interest of major sporting and government organisations in Australia, including TV, the Australian Olympic Committee, The Australian Sports Commission, etc, the then leadership of the Federation did not, in my opinion, take full advantage of the circumstances to set up the sport for the participation and development gains that would be achieved as a result of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Handball in Australia (similar to the experience in the USA and the UK) finds it hard to compete for athletes, government support, media exposure and sponsorship against the well-established (primarily non-Olympic sports) which are prevalent in English-speaking countries (e.g. Netball, Rugby [league and Union], AFL, Gridiron, cricket, etc).
(to see the remainder of this article, click on ‘read the rest’!)[/i]

[i]CA: What about the large number of volunteers in the Olympics, many with old handball background from other parts of the world, combined with a great deal of enthusiasm; were they not able to keep it going and also to recruit others?[/i]

AG: As a result of the Olympic experience, referee and official training is structured, however, numbers here remain low. Broad-based social and club handball competitions are still missing and therefore exposure to the greater population remains low. The sport enjoys interest surrounding major events like the Olympic Games but this “spike” does not translate into sustained growth. Also, in terms of our referees and officials, the great gains made leading up to Sydney 2000 were not sustained because the IHF did not commit to inviting our referees and officials to continue to be involved in major events such as World Championships. This was an opportunity lost and I still can’t understand why the IHF did not support it.

[i]CA: More generally, how do you view the assistance being provided by the IHF and other bodies, in connection with the Olympics and afterwards?[/i]

AG: The IHF provided great assistance to the sport in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, particularly in the preparation of our referees and technical officials. I enjoyed a great working relationship with many key persons in IHF, including some Competition Managers from previous Olympics, which ensured that the planning for and conduct of the Olympic event was smooth and effective. I felt supported and this helped me a lot in my efforts to do my job in a way that led to accolades from the IHF.

Since the 2000 Olympics, the IHF have offered Australia modest support in the way of development resources which has been gratefully received and effectively utilised. The greatest support has been in the support for Oceania international events. I believe that the recent proliferation of events in Oceania (organised by the French-speaking nations) has come as a result of the initiative shown by Australia (as supported by the IHF) since 2004 in particular. I think that the IHF have shown good support for the sport but have been somewhat held back by the situation related to the Oceania Handball Federation. Since this has now been resolved, I expect even more support will flow from the IHF. Australia and the IHF have continued to enjoy an excellent relationship and I know that the IHF sees Australia very much in a leadership role for the region.

to be continued

Australia Update

Here’s an update on recent significant happenings in Australian Handball

[b]Goalie Cathy Kent records most saves in French Div 2:[/b] Cathy Kent recorded 307 saves for her club, Aunis/La Rochelle to lead all goalies in France’s Division 2. Additionally, in a post season poll of coaches, she received the 3rd most votes. She has announced that she’s leaving Aunis and is considering offers from other clubs including Div 1, Mios.
Article Sud-Ouest (French): http://www.handballaustralia.org.au/Media%20Watch/Sud%20Quest.JPG
Article Sud-Ouest (English Translation):

[b]Bevan and Violi Calvert interview on Australian SBS Radio: [/b] Australian Right Wing, Bevan Calvert, and his mother, Violi, Australia’s Media and Public Relations Officer, discuss Australian Handball and Bevan’s experiences playing in Denmark. Note: the 20 minute interview is about 50% English and 50% Tagalog- Filipino.

SBS Radio: http://radio.sbs.com.au/language.php?news=sport&language=Filipino
MP3 File:

[b]Australian Junior Women prepare for World Championships in Macedonia:[/b] Australia is sending a team to this competition for the first time: http://www.handballaustralia.org.au/Junior_Women.htm#Australia_Participates

[b]Australia to participate in Men’s World University Handball Championships in Venice, Italy:[/b]

More news on Australia Handball is always available at their official website:

Australia Bows Out of President’s Cup

Team Australia played it’s 6th and final game today vs. Qatar and came out on the short end again, 36-22. As was the case against Brazil yesterday, Australia could only put together one good half. The good half today, was the first half where Australia battled Qatar goal for goal only trailing 14-15 at the break. Qatar outscored Australia 21-8 in the 2nd half as Australia struggled to score in their set offense. Nemanja Subotic led Australia scoring with 6 goals and Darryl McCormack added 5.

The attached file has Coach Fjeldstad’s post game comments on the tournament and Australia’s handball future: http://teamhandballnews.com/download.php?view.34

Handball on TV in Australia

In a previous posting, I hypothesized that Australians could perhaps get Eurosport via French satellite offerings in the South Pacific. http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?extend.153

Now that my cable system has added Eurosport 2 to their lineup I regularly check the Eurosport TV page and I noticed a schedule for Eurosport Asia/Pacific. A quick google search indicates that getting Eurosport is a lot simpler than I thought. In fact, best as I can tell there are two satellite options.

1) Select TV http://www.selectv.com.au/ This satellite service has the Eurosport Asia/Pacific channel as part of it’s $29.95 “Great TV” package.
2) LBF French Digital TV http://www.lbf.com.au/ This service will get you both Eurosport and Eurosport 2. The pricing on the website is somewhat confusing, but they are running a promotion for installation.

If I was living Down Under I’d go with option 2 as the French Eurosport channels offer more handball (the 12 games in 10 days my other post highlighted) Of course, the downside is that the broadcasts are in French as opposed to English.

Now if they can only get Eurosport on some North American system before I move back to the States……

Australia Appoints New Women’s Head Coach

Australia has appointed Danish coach, Jakob Vestergaard as their new Women’s team head coach. His contract is for 3 years and includes coaching the team at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships (pending qualification).

AHF Press Release: http://www.handballaustralia.org.au/Latest%20News.htm#Womens_Coach

Australian and British Programs Turn to Danish Connection

In a bid to improve their National Handball teams both Australia and Britain are turning to Denmark for coaching and playing opportunities. Australia’s Men’s National Team Coach is Dane Morten Fjeldstad and his in-country connections are being used to facilitate competition and training this August in Denmark. The team is playing in several tournaments and is being hosted by Fjeldstad’s club team, Ribe HK, which plays in the Danish First Division (one level down from the top Danish league). Further to this tour, 3 National Team players (Josh Parmenter, Bevan Calvert and Michael Thomas) will play this upcoming season for Ribe HK and two others (Anthony Deane and Ogi Latinovic) will play for another First Division club, IKAST. The Australian Federation website also highlights two Women’s Team players who will be playing for club teams in Sweden (Katia Boyd) and Denmark (Caitlin Wynne).
Source: http://www.handballaustralia.org.au/

The British Handball Federation has also become closely connected to Denmark. Both the Men’s and Women’s team spent a week recently training at the Aarhus and Oure Sports Academies. Britain intends to relocate up to 25 men and 25 women at the Danish Academies as part of their long term planning to field a competitive Handball Team at the London Olympics in 2012.