AUSSIE REP: Daniel Spann has been selected in the Australian Junior Men's handball team. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
AUSSIE REP: Daniel Spann has been selected in the Australian Junior Men's handball team. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

Spann handed a golden opportunity

ASK any school kid in Bundaberg what handball is and they will describe the undying battle between the king and the dunce on any spare section of concrete in the playground or at home.

But when handball is mentioned around the world it's a very different sport.

There is evidence handball was played in ancient Rome, along with handball-like games in France, but the modern version has its origins in Scandinavia and Germany and it's a spectacular sport to watch.

Played indoors in front of tens of thousands of spectators - the record is 36,000 at the Danish Cup final in 2011 - on a court that is 40m long and 20m wide with teams of seven players (one goalkeeper), handball is a full-contact sport that is fast-paced and very tactical.

When in possession of the ball players can pass it, or dribble it similar to basketball and no attacking or defending players can be in the circle surrounding the goals.

There is a 6m exclusion zone in front of the goals and players have to shoot from outside it or jump into it to make an attempt at goal.

Goals are common in handball, and in the two 30-minute halves teams can score 20 goals each and it's not uncommon for up to 30 goals to be scored in each game.

Men have been playing international games since 1925 and women since 1930. It was introduced to the Olympics in 1936 as an outdoor sport in Berlin.

Handball's next appearance at the Olympics was in 1972 in Munich indoors and women's handball was added at the 1976 games.

At the 2012 London games France was the men's winner and Norway won the women's competition.



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