2024 Copa Argentina sees dominance continue for IFES and Sol de Mayo as event goes global

06 Feb. 2024

2024 Copa Argentina sees dominance continue for IFES and Sol de Mayo as event goes global

The fifth edition of the Confederación Argentina de Handball (CAH) ‘Copa Argentina’ Beach Handball tournament concluded this past weekend (1–4 February) in the South American country and there were some familiar winners.

Home side ‘IFES Fly Summer’ won their fifth, consecutive women’s title, while Río Negro’s men’s side ‘Sol de Mayo’ took their third gold in a row.

The first edition of the Copa Argentina was held back in 2020 and since then, it has gone on to been a mainstay in not only the Argentina or South America Beach Handball calendar, but the global one.

In addition to numerous Argentina national team players at both the senior and younger age levels featuring in the 2024 Copa Argentina, players from Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay also participated, along with Spanish international Asunción Batista, who won the 2016 IHF Women’s World Championship and was also voted as MVP at the 2022 edition, where her side finished as runners-up.

Teams taking part in the Copa Argentina had qualified due to their performances on the Argentina Beach Handball Circuit (Circuito Argentino de Beach Handball), with the 2024 edition currently underway after commencing last month.

Sol de Mayo had qualified through from the Viedma stage (19–21 January), while IFES qualified the following weekend on home sand from the Neuquén stage (26–28 January).

Can anyone beat IFES?

In the women’s competition, eight teams competed, with IFES Fly Summer (Neuquén) joined by Municipalidad de la Costa (Buenos Aires), Only Beach (Río Negro), Deportivo Mitre de Viedma (Río Negro), Deportivo Goliat (Río Negro), Río Grande (Neuquén), Asociación Española (Neuquén) and Asociación Balonmano Centenario (Neuquén).

The preliminary stage saw two groups of four each compete with the top two in both going through to the semi-finals.

On their way to gold, IFES defeated Only Beach 2-0 (19:12, 24:23), Goliat 2-0 (26:12, 21:12) and Asociación Española 2-0 (26:10, 22:18) in the preliminary stage and then Deportivo Mitre 2-0 (27:20, 23:22) in the semi-finals.

They then faced off against Municipalidad de la Costa in the final – another team which had won all four of their previous games 2-0. And it was a cracker, going to a shoot-out after IFES had won the first set (20:18), but lost the second (14:19). In the end, a 9:8 win was secured in the shoot-out so the team could continue their 100% winning record.

“We knew it was going to be a tough final as both teams know each other a lot and our opponents had players like Asunción Batista who is spectacular,” said IFES’ Florencia Gallo after her side won the title.

“It's a huge pride to win the Copa Argentina for the fifth time. We know how important it is to win it as this tournament is really important for our nation to help develop this beautiful sport.”

Sol de Mayo extend title streak

A total of 12 teams participated in the men’s competition with Sol de Mayo (Río Negro) competing against Pico Truncado (Chubut), Los Buitres (Buenos Aires), Picardi (Neuquén), Deportivo Goliat (Río Negro), Faval Nart (Santiago del Estero), Only Beach (Río Negro), Club Atlético Unión Argentina (Santa Fe), S.A.G. Lomas (Buenos Aires), IFES Fly Summer (Neuquén), Asociación Balonmano Centenario (Neuquén) and Peuma Limay (Neuquén) for the title.

Four initial preliminary groups of three teams each saw the top two of each group progress through to the quarter-finals, the winners moving on to the semi-finals and then final.

In their opening game of their gold medal campaign Sol de Mayo were given a scare against Los Buitres – a team they would face eventually in the final. Their preliminary clash saw ‘The Vultures’ take the first set 24:18, but Sol de Mayo powered back to win the second 28:15 and take the shoot-out 7:6 for a 2-1 match win.

It was plain sailing for Sol de Mayo from then on, seeing off Goliat 2-0 (20:14, 22:12) to book a quarter-final spot against Picardi, who they defeated 2-0 (22:12, 18:14). Only Beach were then defeated in the semi-final 2-0 (19:16, 9:8) before ‘The Vultures’ were revisited in the gold medal match.

This time it was easier for Sol de Mayo, hailing from neighbouring province to Neuquén, Río Negro, as they won 2-0 (20:12, 19:18) to record their third, successive national title.

“The Copa Argentina gets harder every year, so that's why, every year, we try to get better. All teams are improving and if we want to be at the (top) level we have to work hard and get out of our comfort zone,” said Sol de Mayo’s Santino Spósito after his side took gold.

“We have many youth players who were born and raised here and that means a huge satisfaction for all of us in Sol de Mayo,” he added. “Beach handball is Argentina is growing a lot and we also want to keep growing.”

To watch the finals, visit the Argentine Handball Confederation (CAH) YouTube channel here.

Copa Argentina – Winners

Year     Women             Men

2020     IFES                 IFES

2021     IFES                 IFES

2022     IFES                 Rio Negro

2023     IFES                 Sol de Mayo

2024     IFES                 Sol de Mayo

Photos: CAH / Omar Novoa