Brazilian sand ready for action
26 Apr. 2023
Stage 1 of the 2023 IHF Beach Handball Global Tour throws off today (Wednesday 26 April) in Maricá, Brazil.
The opening event of the 2023 tour features national teams from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Portugal, Uruguay and the United States of America competing from 26 to 30 April in South America.
A total of 34 games will be played and all of them will be available live and for free on the IHF Competitions Official YouTube channel.
In the women’s competition, hosts Brazil will be relishing the challenge of Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the United States of America.
Chile and the USA will open the day, followed by Argentina taking on Mexico, the Mexicans playing Chile and the USA playing Brazil to conclude the opening action.
Historically, Brazil have been the strongest team on the sand in Maricá, winning medals at the IHF Women’s Beach Handball World Championship, The World Games and ANOC World Beach Games as well as continental titles.
However, in recent years, the rapid development of their neighbours Argentina – now led by 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medal-winning coach Leticia Brunati – has rocked the Brazilians, with the Argentineans taking continental honours for the first time last year.
The continued development of Mexico and the USA, both of whom hold prestigious tournaments every year and are now regulars on the global stage, will also be in evidence. This, combined with Chile’s thirst to gain valuable international experience, means it is set to be a tough challenge for all five teams.
Brazil are the clear favourites in the men’s competition with a group of legendary players who have won it all. But their competition will be testing, with Argentina, Portugal, Uruguay and the United States of America all with recent IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship or The World Games experience and Chile looking to make their mark.
Uruguay, who finished in their highest-ever world championship position of sixth last year, are on a high, while Portugal are in preparation for an important Men’s European Championship next month.
Six games will be played today, with Uruguay and Portugal opening up the competition and, as in the women’s tournament, the USA and Brazil concluding the opening day.
On the eve of the tour stage opening, Fernando Posada (IHF Beach Handball Working Group Member), Hristo Boskoski (IHF Head Office member responsible for beach handball) and Mario Bernardes (Handball Federation of Portugal) held a media conference.
A number of topics were discussed, including the continued close cooperation of the IHF with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in relation to working towards the possible inclusion of beach handball in the event programme for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, following the confirmation of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games programme and the IHF’s planned showcase of the sport in the French capital ahead of the Olympic Games, originally revealed back in 2021.
Photo: Santi Russo/ @Play_handball