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Date: 5/26/2019
 

Speed, stamina and precision can make all the difference in the charged atmosphere of a hospital emergency room – as it turns out, they are also the attributes of a top handball player.
 
Clara Dahlenburg is a third-year medical student at Bond University who juggles her studies and medical placements at Gold Coast University Hospital with handball representative duties for Queensland and Australia.
 
Dahlenburg, 20, commutes weekly from Robina to Brisbane to train and is preparing for the World Championship in Japan in late November. Australia qualified for the tournament – their first since 2013 – after winning four of six matches at the 2018 Asian Championships.
 
However, the weight of history is against the Australian women’s team, who have not won a single match at a World Championship in 43 attempts across seven tournaments dating back to 1999.
 
“We have a new coach, Heba Aly from Egypt, and she is really good at inspiring the team,” Dahlenburg said. “She joined last year before the Asian championships and she played a large part in our qualifying.
 
“Our coach would say the Olympics isn’t off the table and it is achievable, but it would be a massive result to crack into the top 12 teams in the world and make Tokyo.
 
“There are 24 countries including (reigning champions) France at the World Championships. We’ll most definitely have a really hard time.”
 
Dahlenburg runs the handball programme at Bond University and has ambitions of helping the sport grow across Queensland and Australia. The left wing or centre specialist says people are always surprised by the hard-hitting nature of the sport.  “Bond University attracts a lot of Europeans, we get a lot of Swedish and Norwegian students, and they love handball because the sport is massive there,” Dahlenburg said.
 
“Australia would be doing much better on an international scale if we had more local competition and funding as we are currently entirely self-funded and that can be frustrating at times. But hopefully we can start to grow the sport and get more people involved.
 
“Handball is the best sport. It combines so many skills and is so fast paced, it is such an aggressive sport, which a lot of people don’t know. It’s brutal. You can get really beaten and banged up after a game, but the physical contact is all part of the fun.”
 
 
Text courtesy of Bond University
Photo: Cavan Flynn

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