Day one of the Women’s preliminary competition sees the reigning Olympic Champions Norway take on France in a repeat of the final of the 2011 World Championships. Great Britain’s women will also play on day one against Montenegro, both teams making their Olympic Games debut.
Other notable matches on day seven include Croatia v Montenegro and Great Britain’s women against Angola. Angola are 11 times African Champions but were beaten by Great Britain 22 points to 20 at the London Test Event in November last year.
In the men’s competition, current Olympic Champions France start their tournament with a match against Great Britain on day two – the first time that the two teams will have played each other. On day four, Serbia play Croatia in a repeat of the Euro 2012 Championship match which Serbia won. Also on day four of the men’s preliminary competition, Denmark take on Spain. Spain (together with Russia) has participated in the most Olympic Handball tournaments with ten appearances and 3 bronze medals but have yet to win Gold.
The Handball competition will take place at the Copper Box on the Olympic Park which was the third Olympic Park venue to be completed. After the Games, the Copper Box will become a multi-use venue for community use, sports training and events, accommodating a variety of activities, ranging from international competition and concerts to training and competition in sports such as basketball, handball, badminton, boxing, martial arts, netball, table tennis, volleyball and goalball.
London 2012 Director of Sport, Debbie Jevans said: “The Copper Box is set to stage exciting world-class sport during the Olympic Games. We were able to test the venue through a series of test events including The London Handball Cup which was the first competition to take place in the Handball Arena on the Olympic Park and we are set for a fantastic couple of weeks of competition in the venue”
Dr Hassan Moustafa, IHF President said: “Handball has constantly been one of the major sports in the Olympic Programme since 1972, which makes the handball family very proud, as this is a clear signal for the worldwide interest in our sport. Looking upon the numbers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, handball was among the top sports concerning TV figures.
‘And looking upon the ticket sales for the 2012 Olympic Games in London it is impressive how fast the handball tournament was sold out. The promotion of handball has been tremendous in Great Britain, since London was awarded as host of the 2012 Olympic Games in June 2005. We are proud to welcome the world of handball in London – and we are sure that we will see thrilling, brilliant matches with the best players of the world.”
Olympic men’s tournament:
France, Sweden, Iceland, Great Britain, Argentina, Tunisia
Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Denmark, Korea
Olympic women’s tournament:
Montenegro, Russia, Croatia, Great Britain, Brazil, Angola
Norway, Spain, Denmark, France, Sweden, Korea