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Date: 2/1/2015

Now the final curtain has gone down at Qatar 2015 the thoughts of the handball world turn to the Women’s 2015 Championship in Denmark in December and then the Rio Olympic Games in the summer of 2016.

Daniela Coelho is the Handball Sport Manager for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and was in Doha to observe the 24th Men’s Handball World Championships - Qatar 2015.

“I was in Doha to observe the big picture of the sports event and to focus mainly on the competition,” she explained.

“I am talking with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and chatting with technical officials, team guides, and team supervisors, to see how the structure is.”

“When I tell people I am from Rio, they smile and then they ask for a job,” she said joking. “Everyone has a positive response about Brazil and talk about the samba, carnival, Pele, Romario, Ronaldo - this is always nice.”

Rio 2016 is less than 600 days away and Daniela, herself a former handball player (goalkeeper) who represented Portugal at the European University Handball Championships, is keen to talk about the handball set-up there.

“The handball arena is called the Future Arena,” she said. “It is a temporary arena but doesn’t look temporary - its capacity is 12,000 with two levels.

“When the spectators and athletes arrive they are going to see a proper arena but after the Games, as part of the legacy programme, they are going to be dividing it and build four schools in different parts of Rio de Janeiro.

“It is in a really good position; it is near the aquatic centre and basketball arena as well as the live zone, so it is going to be a lot of people around there.”

So, how engaged are Brazilians with handball in their country? “All of Brazil is looking forward to handball at Rio 2016 - everyone in Brazil is looking for medals, it’s a big responsibility for the men’s and women’s teams.

“We will hold the test event and Olympic Draw in April 2016 - all after the Olympic qualification tournaments have finished.

“Tickets have just gone on sale to the public now; and everyone can start to register at Rio2016.com.

“The playing format will be similar to London, with three sessions of two games a day for the Preliminaries - the 10 first days will have six matches per day; the Preliminary Round with women’s matches alternating daily, then the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

“Everyone in Brazil knows a little bit about what handball is and all of Brazil wants people to feel welcome - everyone expects a party and that’s what we want; everyone to feel at home.

“Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s beautiful cities; the nature, the forest, the beaches and we will try our best to put on a show to welcome everyone - it will be amazing.”