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Date: 3/8/2018
 

The 2018 Pan American Beach Handball Championships throw-off later today in Oceanside, California (USA) as the very best teams on sand from across the Americas fight for regional glory and a ticket to the 2018 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championships in Russia in July.

 

Opening the tournament at 13:00 (local time) today will be Brazil vs Paraguay and Uruguay against debutants, Trinidad and Tobago in the men’s competition, followed by hosts USA against Mexico and Argentina against first-timers in the men’s competition, Puerto Rico.

 

In the women’s competition, Uruguay take on Mexico, Paraguay face Trinidad and Tobago, appearing for the first time too in the women’s tournament, as well as Argentina vs Puerto Rico and strong favourites Brazil facing the hosts.

 

It’s a different squad, but still the same mission – to win it all,” said USA women’s player Marilyn Elder, the only player left from the USA women’s team sole appearance in the competition, back in 2012.

 

“This time though we’re more prepared, we’re more focussed and we know what our jobs are. I’m excited to see how the squad does in this tournament and show the world how much we’ve been preparing for this.

 

“I’m really excited about the unity between our men’s and women’s [beach handball] programmes and to see how they will do,” she continued. “Everyone is helping each other to be strong and be prepared – the dedication from the women involved in our programme is the best, but without every individual being involved in this we would not be here today; the coaches, the technical staff – everybody has worked really hard for this moment to be the best and we’re ready.

 

“It’s going to be a great one.”

 

Debutants in both the men’s and women’s competitions, Trinidad and Tobago, have been busy preparing, including participating in the 11th Annual SoCal Beach Handball Championship back in September 2017 on Huntington Beach, California and despite the sport being a relatively new addition to the southern Caribbean nation’s sporting repertoire, the IHF has helped to develop the discipline through its IHF Beach Handball Trophy work and with the expertise of the coaching and players on the two islands, the players are now hoping to represent their nation in the best possible way.

 

"We've been playing three years now,” said men’s player Keon Russell to local media ahead of the championships. “Leading up to this tournament the sport has been progressing and it’s a great accomplishment.

 

"I came over to handball after an injury I got from professional soccer,” he continued. “It was supposed to be a sport to recover from my injury, but I decided to take it seriously and now I'm playing it at international level.

 

"Everybody is ready, hyped and just waiting to get out there and represent the red, white and black.”

 

Games from Oceanside will be streamed live and free on www.usateamhandball.org/live (USA Pacific Time schedule).

 

 

 

MATCH SCHEDULE

 

Preliminary Round

Round-robin, league format: Thursday 8 March & Friday 9 March

 

Women’s Competition

Group A: URU, PAR, MEX, TTO

Group B: BRA, ARG, USA, CHI

 

Men’s Competition

Group A: BRA, URU, PAR, TTO

Group B: USA, ARG, MEX, PUR

 

Quarter-Finals

Morning, Saturday 10 March

 

Semi-Finals and Placement 5-8 Matches (R1)

Afternoon, Saturday 10 March

 

Placement 5-8 Matches (R2)

Morning, Sunday 11 March

 

Bronze Medal and Finals

Afternoon, Sunday 11 March

 

The full match schedule, updated daily, can be found on the USA Team Handball website HERE.

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