Securing a lasting legacy for handball
|Published: 28th March 2011 13:17|
European handball officials have visited London to see the progress being made in creating a lasting legacy for the sport.
The European Handball Federation (EHF) also signed a new funding agreement with Sport England and England Handball that will see further support for the sport in this country though the EHF's Infrastructure Support Programme, a new funding initiative providing investment and part-funding for key personnel.
Handball, which is very popular in many parts of Europe, is using the opportunity of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games to establish a stronger foothold in England.
The sport is already capturing the imagination of a new generation of players here. 45,000 school children are now playing the sport, helped by the 420 Change 4 Life sports clubs being established to help bridge the gap between school and club participation in the sport. England Handball's figures show that the number of adult players currently stands at around 11,000.
The EHF delegates visited the Olympic Park to see how building work on the Handball Arena is coming on. After the Games, the venue will be adapted to become a multi-use sports centre for community use. They were also able to see how handball is taking hold among young people during a tour of Newham Leisure Centre, where boys and girls from two local schools were playing the sport.
Jean Brihault, Vice President of the EHF, said:
"With just under 18 months until the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, I am delighted to be in London to sign the funding agreement with the England Handball Association and Sport England on behalf of the European Handball Federation.
"The London 2012 Olympic Games represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a lasting legacy for handball in England and the EHF is pleased to be able to support England Handball's development plans through this three-year investment, which will enable the employment of a full-time handball development officer in the Olympic host city."
Sport England's Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said:
"Thousands of English youngsters are now discovering the excitement and exhilaration of handball - something many of their European counterparts have long known about. We really welcome the support being given by the European Handball Federation to the development of the sport in this country."
The four-year-period between 2009 and 2013 is the first time that Sport England has invested in handball. In addition to bringing the game to more people, an important legacy for handball is that the work we have done with England Handball will leave it with the structures and governance in place necessary to drive further growth in participation.