Congratulations British HandballWell with London's surprise victory a couple of days ago, the UK has qualified for the 2012 Olympics. Out of curiousity, I decided to do an internet search on Handball in the UK. My only knowledge prior to this search was playing against a Scottish club team at West Point a few years ago. Talking to some of their players afterwards, I was under the impression that the sport's popularity in the UK was similar to the US.
Here are a few interesting factoids on UK Handball
- Both Scotland and England have their own federation. In fact, depending on the sport England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland either have their own National team or play together under the UK or British banner. It looks like they will be combining teams for the Olympics as there is a letter on London 2012 that is signed out by the British Handball Association, vice England Handball. Since it's Britain instead of the UK, I would guess that means you're out of luck if you're from Northern Ireland.
- The sport is a little more developed there than I thought. If you look at their websites you'll see they have fairly organized leagues. More than what we have in the US.
- They sent a youth team to a tournament in Malta and ended up playing the US twice. The write-up talks about the US-UK games. (Heck, I didn't even know that a US team had gone to Malta for a tournament. How come that wasn't put on the USA Website?) The writeup mentions that US coach, Darrick Heath was outcoached in the semifinal showdown that theUS lost, 21-10. They did give Darrick kudos as the most successful US player, though. (The document can be read on the England website under documents- EnglandreportMalta)
It should be interesting to see the path they take in terms of development over the next 7 years. Here's hoping that we can join them in London as the PanAmerican Representative.