Beach handball is set to return to the sand at Coolangatta on Queensland’s Gold Coast this week, as the Beach Handball Nationals Australia take place from Thursday 21 April to Sunday 24 April. The event will decide champions in three categories — women’s, men’s and mixed — and feature 138 matches. Teams from five states and New Zealand are set to compete.
Alongside the club championship, the Oceania Beach Handball Championships will be held, serving as qualification events for the 2022 IHF Beach Handball World Championships and The World Games. The Oceania qualifiers will be played on Thursday and Friday.
As only Australia and New Zealand are able to participate, because of the difficulty travelling in the region due to Covid-19, the men’s and women’s sides for both nations will meet in a best-of-three series. The winners will clinch the places at both the World Championships in Crete and The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
Australia are the only nation to have won the Oceania titles in beach handball, in both the men’s and women’s competitions. New Zealand were second in the men’s competition in 2021 while American Samoa were runners-up in the women’s. New Zealand’s sides will therefore hope to pull off an upset and clinch the tickets to the global events.
A total of 27 teams are set to contest the national club titles, with nine in each of the categories.
The Australian Open Beach Handball Championships have become an increasingly important event regarding the visibility of handball in the region, following the announcement of Brisbane as host of the 2032 Olympic Games. Coolangatta, where the big few days of beach handball action will take place, is just over an hour from Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. The Beach Handball Championships have been played in Coolangatta two times previously and the 2022 edition is the final one in Handball Queensland’s three-year hosting cycle.