Hand-what? Handball: everything you need to know about the brilliant game

Nikola Karabatic recieved the MVP award at the 2017 Handball World Championships.
Nikola Karabatic received the MVP award at the 2017 World Handball Championships . Photo credit Doha Stadium Plus Qatar on Flickr.

France claimed their sixth Men’s Handball World Championship title this January, reported the EHF, recording nine wins in nine matches to continue their reign as the most decorated national  team in history.

Goalkeeper, Thierry Omeyer, became the first player to win five World Championships, whilst infamous teammate Nikola Karabatic received the “most valuable player” award.

Handball is an up and coming sport in the UK but has failed, as of yet, to reach the popularity it receives in Europe.

Jack Oliphant, 21, CEO of League Above that helps run junior Handball leagues in the UK, says: “Handball should be one of the first sports on the national curriculum for a number of reasons. Handball is easily one of the most well-rounded sports you can learn as a kid. While it develops nearly every motor skill, it equally instills a strong ethos of sportsmanship as rules demand respect for officials and the opposition. Britain already has the facilities in place so it is one of the most accessible sports available to us.

“With handball being a global sport and with Britain a country who pride themselves on sporting triumphs, it is amazing that we haven’t dipped our toe into Handball sooner.”

In this FAQ, we answer the basic questions that everyone wants to know about the exciting sport that is Handball…

What is Handball?

The England Handball Federation (EHF) describe Handball as a fast-paced, contact sport consisting of seven players, who may only pass the ball around using their hands to score as many goals as possible.  Tac, a sticky substance is used to help grip the ball.

Handballs in the goal.
In handball, Men use size three balls whilst Women use size two; both use tac, a sticky substance that helps grip the ball. Photo credit Frank Nurnberger on Flickr.

Why have I never heard of Handball?

In 2012, Team GB proclaimed that Handball was virtually unknown before the London 2012 Olympics, despite being the second most popular sport in Europe. However, England Handball are setting up new junior leagues across the country to grow the sport nationwide.

Which team are the best?

The French Men’s national team is one of two teams to have twice held all three major titles (European Championship, World Championship and Olympic Gold) at the same time. They are regarded as the best team in history.

Has Great Britain ever won a medal?

No. In fact, Great Britain has only reached one major competition, the Olympic Games in London 2012 through automatic qualification.

How can I get involved in Handball?

To find out how to get involved in handball, visit www.englandhandball.com and use their club finder.

By Beth Fenner

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