Junior beach handball players target 2018 Youth Olympics

HANDBALL is undoubtedly a perennial favorite playground – and when you add sand, surf and sun, you get a fun and exciting sport that is growing in popularity.

HANDBALL is undoubtedly a perennial favorite playground – and when you add sand, surf and sun, you get a fun and exciting sport that is growing in popularity.

Evolution of the Olympic sport of European handball, beach handball opposes two teams of three, up to four substitutes and a goalkeeper on a sand court.

Using a non-slip rubber ball, players try to score regular goals worth one point, or “attractive or spectacular goals” worth two points, to claim the most match points.

Handball enthusiast Ethan Lee Chalk decided to join the Maroubra Bluebottles beach handball club after hearing about the seaside adaptation during a school gym class.

“It felt unusual and I wanted to see what it would be like instead of playing on solid ground, and I thought it was much more interesting,” the Randwick Boys High School student said.

“I already play every sport under the sun, and I love beach handball because it’s a short time and requires good skills and athleticism – it’s like all the sports come together in one.”

Allira Hudson-Gofers, manager of Australia’s junior beach handball team and European Olympic handball player, entered the game after being “roped up” by her husband at training camp.

“We had some international guys come here at the 2011 Nationals who showed us how to do special moves and I went for it,” Hudson-Gofers said.

“We train the kids every weekend at Maroubra, it’s great fun.”

A team will be selected at the junior team training camp held in Brighton-Le-Sands last weekend, with the team due to take part in the Oceania Qualifiers in the Cook Islands in March.

“We need to win there and be in the top rankings at the World Championships in July to have any hope of playing at the 2018 Youth Olympics,” Hudson-Gofers said.

“Australia won’t be sending every team sport so our juniors have to do their best and we’ll be crossing our fingers that they choose our sport.”

For more information email ausjnrbeachandball@gmail.com