Tuesday, 14 August 2012

England - Scotland Internationals Required Urgently!

The London Olympics are over and everything indicates that handball has been one of the big successes of the games. Sell out crowds attended the Copper Box and Basketball Arena creating one of the best atmospheres for any sport, there was a television audience which rivalled those for judo and water polo and journalists and broadcasters continually raved about this undiscovered sport. Sir Clive Woodward has even suggested in a tweet that ‘all team sports should play handball as their second sport’.

So what about the legacy? During the course of the Olympics new teams and interest started to appear almost every day - 'Anyone interested in starting a team in Sunderland?', 'We've just started a team in Aberystwyth.' and Telford Handball Club has appeared on Facebook to give just three examples. This is a good start, however as Daly Thompson pointed out, if sports don't act immediately then all the free publicity will be for nothing.

So here are a few points:

It's good news that a teams such as Liverpool and Rutland are involved in the Join in UK initiative  https://www.joininuk.org/ but why isn't handball listed on the drop down menu of sports to choose from? 'I want to try handball ... oh it's not on the menu.' Yes, it's about trying local sport but maybe some people would be willing to travel to Liverpool or Rutland to give it a go if they knew the session was on. With no handball on the menu they can't.

Wikipedia is mocked by many but it's where many people go to get their information and then follow links. There has been a massive surge in hits on handball related pages including that for the BHA and EHA. It is quite normal nowadays that organisation manage their Wikipedia pages, so that links work and information is accurate and useful. The EHA link was broken on Wikipedia until a few days ago when I noticed this and fixed it.

Finally, we need a follow up event that will serve as a bridge to raise interest again before the new handball season starts and before the Olympics are forgotten about. If it is not planned then how about an England Scotland International day featuring the male and female teams? Or how about something similar to the Rugby League where the Great Britain teams would take on the best of the English and Scottish Leagues? Better still let's have both of these events. The public would see their Olympic handball heroes in action while they can still remember the names.

Given the way that the BBC is currently raving about handball they will surely put the licence fee money where their mouths are!


  1. A fabulous idea Russell. If an international match is not feasible at the moment how about a North v South match?

    Looking a bit further into the future a Scotland v England international in Glasgow around the time of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 would be a great advert for the sport. Who knows it might be a spur for other commonwealth nations to take up handball?

  2. I think Handball Ireland have the right idea. A high profile tournament this weekend involving Salford, Deva, the Irish Champions, Barcelona and the National Team. I think it's absolutely brilliant that clubs are springing up, taster sessions are being attended by large numbers and our stars are still pop up on TV but a big event which should get picked up by TV will give a boost to handball's profile as the Olympic effect starts to decline. What about the Irish coming over to play a Super 8 select a week or two before the season starts?