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Date: 2/1/2015

A capacity crowd in the Lusail Multipurpose Hall saw the curtain fall on the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship on Sunday, as Qatar dazzled the world once again with an incredible closing ceremony.

As well as marking the end of Qatar 2015, the closing event functioned as a symbolic handover to France, which will host the next Men’s World Handball Championship in 2017.

The ceremony began with a film montage of all the high points from the past  17 days of competitions followed by ‘Handball’s Legacy - A Gift from Qatar’ broken down through ‘Perserverance’, ‘Presence’, ‘Strength’ and ‘Beauty’.

A moving rendition of the national anthem of Qatar performed by children of the Siwar Choir and was followed by a range of traditional performances that showcased Qatari culture.

The championship’s beloved mascot Fahed waved to the crowds, and was joined by a group of French children for the Official Song of the Championship, “Live it”, which has now been seen more than six million times on YouTube.

During the ceremony, Dr. Hassan Moustafa, President of the International Handball Federation (IHF) delivered a speech in Arabic thanking the Qatar 2015 Organising Committee for the hugely successful event and thanked visiting teams and delegations for their participation in the championship.

At the awards ceremony, H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, The Emir of the State of Qatar and Dr. Moustafa presented the new world champions France with their gold medals. Dr. Hassan Moustafa also presented the team with the newly unveiled championship trophy that was designed in Qatar.

The replacement of the trophy is a championship first and has been presented by the State of Qatar to the IHF as a new trophy for all future tournaments. The old trophy will be kept at a museum at the IHF Headquarters in Switzerland.

Second place winner, Qatar was awarded silver medals and bouquets by H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah, President, Olympic Council of Asia and Miguel Roca Mas, 1st Vice President, International Handball Federation.

H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar 2015 Organising Committee and Frantisek Taborsky, Executive Committee Member, International Handball Federation presented the third place and Bronze Medals to Poland.

Following the awards ceremony, in a symbolic handover to France, H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar 2015 Organising Committee handed the IHF flag to Dr. Hassan Moustafa marking the end of the championship.

The President of the IHF in turn handed the flag over to Joel Delplanque, President of the French Handball Federation as they prepare to host the next edition of the tournament in 2017. The France 2017 Committee has toured the Qatar 2015 venues this week and publically congratulated Qatar for the high level of professionalism and incredible range of facilities at the championship.

The closing ceremony finished with performances by international music artists Kylie Minogue, Taio Cruz and Mani Hoffman. Spectators were also treated to an incredible firework display, as Lusail Multipurpose Hall was illuminated for the night.

Photo: Qatar 2015 (from Opening Ceremony - awaiting photos from Closing Ceremony)