This summer has seen Great Britain well-represented on the European and global handball stage.
After the British Championships completed in England in May, Great Britain’s senior men’s team travelled to Georgia for the IHF Men’s Emerging Nations Championship in June where they finished fourth, a marked improvement on their 11th place finish at the previous edition, back in 2017.
In early July, GB’s U18 coach John Pearce took an U17 GB team to the 2019 EHF Men’s 17 European Open, part of the Partille Cup in Sweden, their first ever outing, while the GB U20 men’s team won silver at the Sao Pedro tournament in Portugal. From 13-21 July the GB women’s U19 side were in Bulgaria for the EHF Women’s 19 Championship where they played Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Iceland and Bosnia & Herzegovina, they have been active in a number of other competitions across the summer. Earlier in April the GB women’s senior team made a welcome return to the international scene, with a silver medal at the EliteSport Cup in Hungary.
In August, British IHF referee couple Brian Bartlett and Allan Stokes whistled six matches at the 2019 Women’s 17 EHF EURO in Slovenia, ending with the 5/6 placement match between Norway and Russia, and as reserve referees for the final between Hungary and Sweden.
This coming season will be the 10th EHF season for the couple, having completed 61 matches with the continental federation. Last season they whistled a number of EHF Cup and EHF Challenge Cup matches, most notably the first leg of the Women’s EHF Challenge Cup semi-final between Rocasa Gran Canaria and Kristianstad Handboll.
On a global stage, England Handball Association’s Chief of Referees, Cesar Castillo was given his first-ever International Handball Federation (IHF) nomination, when he was selected as an IHF Delegate for the 2019 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship in Skopje, North Macedonia.
Castillo was involved in 18 games as a scorekeeper, timekeeper, official and referee observer, ending as the IHF Technical Official for the semi-final between Egypt and Portugal and scorekeeper for the Portugal vs Denmark bronze medal match.
Working alongside Cesar was Andrew McSteen, who has been volunteering on the media side for British Handball since the Four Nations invitational tournament in October 2008. Andrew was in Skopje as one of the IHF Media Representatives, a role he has held since late 2014 alongside his other media roles with both the European Handball Federation (EHF) and SEHA League.
Before organising the second edition of the London Beach Handball International Tournament in July, our very own EHF Beach Handball Delegate Konrad Markwardt was selected for the 2019 EHF European Beach Tour Finals, held in Baia Mare, Romania in June.
After working at a number of games on the first three days of the competition, Konrad ended the competition as one of the two EHF Match Delegates for the men’s bronze medal match between V. Gaw and Os Tigres as well as the women’s semi-final between Westsite Amsterdam and Algeciras, and the 5/6 placement match between CAIPIranhas and BHC 2areg.
Konrad was also involved in 39 matches at the 2019 EHF European Beach Handball Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland. The championships incorporated the men’s and women’s senior competitions and men’s and women’s U17 competitions, Konrad’s 39th game was the men’s bronze medal match between Hungary and Russia. The competition also saw London GD players Maria Marselli and Pedro Ribeiro represent Cyprus and Portugal respectively.
British Handball Chair Paul Bray, alongside representatives from both the England Handball Association and Scottish Handball Association were present at the XXXVII International Handball Federation (IHF) Ordinary Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden from 2-5 July.
Familiar faces on a global stage
Last season former GB U21 coach Scott Harrington led Sola undefeated to the Norwegian women’s Division 1 title and promotion to the top elite level this season. Ciaran Williams and Mark Hawkins, both former GB national team players and coaches, are also coaching at a high level in Norway.
In July, former Great Britain men’s U20 assistant coach Ricki Lyngsoe led Australia to their debut IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, held in Spain. The Denmark-born Lyngsoe also played and coached at club level in Great Britain, with Carshalton, and was assistant to Mark Hawkins with the GB national team.
Paul Bray, British Handball Chair commented “This summer has seen Great Britain continue to maintain a high profile continental and global presence not only on the playing and coaching side, but also through referees, officials and at the very highest political level.
“This clearly demonstrates the hard work and effort put in by those involved throughout Great Britain and through the two national association in England and Scotland across all the different aspects of handball.
“Having a presence outside of the country and making ourselves visible to the handball world is an extremely important part of our continued commitment to grow and strengthen the sport both at home and as part of the global handball family.”
Picture: Filip Viranovski