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Handball is here to stay!
HANDBALL remains on track to be the most successful legacy sports of the London 2012 Olympics, despite doubts over UK Sport funding for the elite side of the sport.
Recent headlines have suggested that funding for minority sports is in jeopardy, but the good work being done at grassroots to continue the unprecedented growth in the popularity of handball looks set to continue.
Thousands of people across the country who saw the British men’s and women’s handball teams in action at the London Olympics felt inspired to find out more about the fastest growing sport in the country. And clubs and coaches at the grassroots are set to continue to help the sport grow on the back of this massive upsurge in participation.
“Grassroots development up to and including the Talent Pathway is funded through Sport England and other external partners,” explained EHA Director of Performance, Mick Hegarty. “The submission of the latest Whole Sport Plan, for the period of 2013-2017, recognises the continued growth and new enthusiasm for the game.
“Nothing has changed regarding the process to develop the sport and England Handball continues to ensure that there is a route for aspirational players, via the network of National Academies, into a Great Britain structure.”
And Paul Goodwin, Chief Executive of British Handball, added: “British Handball has not given up the fight for funds. We remain hopeful that UK Sport will continue to provide funding to our elite teams, who provide such an inspiration to the next generation who will be the ones aiming to qualify for the Olympics in Rio and in 2020, and eventually challenge for medals.
“We are determined to support our elite teams and thus provide a pathway for those introduced at any level to aspire to and compete at such a level.”
Even prior to the London Olympics, handball had seen a massive increase in popularity, thanks largely to the sport being included in a schools programme as part of the government’s Change4Life initiative.
Last year, England Handball introduced 58,000 of children and young people to handball. As a result of their good work, there are now more than 11,000 regularly playing handball in leagues and school competitions – more than three times the target of 3,000 they were given by Sport England.
If you want to have a go at handball, go the www.englandhandball.com and click on the club finder.