Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1294, (5 - 11 May 2016)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1294, (5 - 11 May 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Hands set for Rio

Egypt was placed in Group B at the Rio Olympic handball competition, writes Inas Mazhar

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Al-Ahram Weekly

As host nation, Brazil chose to join Group B together with surprise Euro 2016 winners Germany, African champion Egypt, Sweden, Slovenia and Poland. Group A saw the defending Olympic and World Champions France facing Qatar, the 2015 runners up, which means that the finalists of the 2015 Men’s World Championship will meet again, but this time at the Rio Olympics in August. Group A also includes Argentina, Croatia, Denmark and Tunisia.

According to Effat Rashad, head of the technical committee of the Egyptian Handball Federation, the draw was good and fair. “This is not the first time we played in the Olympics, and we have taken part in all world champions,” Rashad told Al-Ahram Weekly. “We know all these teams by heart. So, we will go to the competition and take it one game at a time.”

He continued that although Egypt missed the last Olympic Games, “over the last few years the national team has shown impressive progress, as seen when Egypt won the African Championships in January here in Cairo and qualified for the Olympics.”

Egypt took part in five editions of the Olympic Games as Africa’s representative in handball: Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. The Pharaoh’s highest placement was in Atlanta when they finished in sixth place. The team missed London 2012, but are preparing a comeback in Rio 2016.

The draw for the men’s and women’s Olympic competition was held at the Future Arena in the Olympic Park of Barre de Tijuca, which will be home of the handball competition during the 2016 Olympic Games. It took place before the first match of the Aquece Rio handball Men’s Tournament, which serves as a test event for the Olympic handball tournament. Per Bertelsen, acting chairman of the International Handball Federation (IHF) Commission of Organising, and former Brazil national player Zeze Sales conducted the draw of the women’s teams. Bruno Souza former player on Brazil’s men’s team assisted First Vice President of IHF Miguel Roca with the draw of the men’s teams.

Twelve teams in each gender category qualified for the Rio Olympics next summer, and are divided into two groups of six, each according to their pre-determined performance rows. The draw started with row six and worked up to one, with the host nation having the right to choose which group it goes into. Row four, which featured Brazil, was determined last.

According to the IHF official website, the draw had brought along some interesting results. In Group A, defending Olympic, world and European champions Norway will face host Brazil, Angola, Spain, Montenegro and Romania, who finished third at the 2015 World Championship in Denmark and against whom they played already in the semifinals of the Word Championship. In Group B, the surprise team of the last women’s world championship Netherlands, will compete against Asian champions Korea, Argentina, Sweden, Russia and France.

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