Beach handball is a relatively new discipline of the sport and even newer in Australia. Our teams are progressively building their skills internationally. Prior to this event the women had placed 8th and the guys 11th. So 6th place is a positive outcome, though initially bittersweet for the teams who both faced nations they’d beaten earlier in the event in the 5-6 place playoff with different outcomes this time.
The Australian Men’s and Women’s teams participated as the Oceania representatives at The World Games in Poland between July 26-29.
The Women found themselves in a Pool with two teams who eventually played the final (Brazil and Argentina). They started their campaign against World Powerhouses’ Brazil which was a tough match and a loss 2:0 (24:9) (21:13). They quickly bounced back against Chinese Taipei 2:0 (15:13) (16:15) and then hosts Poland 2:1 (10:13) (15:6) (5:2 E) in a thriller. The Quarterfinals was also a close affair against Argentina (16:13) (12:18) (8:4 E), who ended up silver medalists.
The semi-finals had them again playing Taipei with a similar result to their first meeting at 0:2 (16:21) (9:12). The 5/6 placement match was against hosts Poland again but this time the result was in Poland’s favour 0:2 (8:14) (8:12).
The Men started strongly against Qatar (the eventual bronze medalists) in an extremely tight affair which could have gone either way but went the way of Qatar 2:0 (17:15) (17:16). Like women they also had Brazil (Gold medalist) in their pool with the favourites taking control 0:2 (18:23) (16:23). They fared well against Uruguay taking the win 0:2 (15:20) (10:18) to place third in the pool.
In the quarterfinals Australia played a Croatia (silver medalists after penalties) in a strong game that had them leading in sections of the match, though Croatia taking the win 0:2 (14:20) (13:16) and Australia building competitive credibility internationally. This was followed with a win over Egypt 2:0 (22:14) (18:14).
Like the Women the Men’s 5-6 placement match was against Uruguay, a team they’d met earlier with a win, though this time it was extremely tight in Uruguay’s favour 2:0 (18:14) (18:17).
Congratulations to the teams on their 6th placements. We look forward to seeing how far you can go!
An interview with our Australian Coaches Boris Mensing (Women) and Patrik Weiss (men) can be found on the IHF website at http://ihf.info/en-us/mediacentre/news/newsdetails.aspx?ID=5129
You can follow the journey in pictures and reports by Kate Napier on the Australian Beach Handball Team’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/australianbeachhandballteam/
(Photo credit: Kate Napier)