From 12 to 15 December 2016 IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa, accompanied by Dietrich Späte, Caretaker Chairman of the IHF Commission for Coaching and Methods (CCM), visited Tokyo to meet with representatives of the Kumamoto and Japan Handball Association. The focus of the discussions was put on the ‘Promotion and Development Concept for 2019 [Women’s World Championship] and 2020 [Olympic handball tournaments]’.
During the meeting with members of the 2019 Women’s Handball World Championship Organising Committee (Japan 2019 OC) Mr Shimada, President of Kumamoto Handball Association, gave an overview on the current status on the preparation for the Women’s World Championship in Kumamoto. Already in the beginning of 2017, the 22 members of Japan 2019 OC will start their work. One of the main goals for this IHF event is for women to play an active role in all possible positions and fields. In Japan, Kumamoto is known for supporting women’s sport in particular.
At the same time the World Championship should show the world that the city has recovered from the earthquake in April 2016 and welcomes the different cultures of the 23 participating nations in a way that is open to the world. Mr Shimado emphasised that they are very proud that Kumamoto is the only city in Asia to host a Men’s (1997) as well as a Women’s Championship.
During the meeting with the President of the Japanese Handball Association, Yoshihide Watanabe, it was discussed in particular how to make handball more popular in Japan. At the moment, the sport ranks eighth among the most popular sports in Japan (at the top: baseball and football).
IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa confirmed a comprehensive support from the IHF. The aim should be to not only keep but improve the position that handball reached at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (second most popular sport after football).
On the occasion of the three-day long visit in Japan, Dr Moustafa also visited the Nippons Sport Science University in Fukasawa Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo. The university’s handball team are reigning Japanese champions and there are many talented junior national players within the team who could be considered for ‘Tokyo 2020’ in the future.