19 Feb. 2020
The sheer hard work and enthusiasm shown by those in the Argentinean beach handball community for a number of years has ensured that not only the debut of the sport at the Youth Olympic Games – the 2018 edition in Buenos Aires, Argentina – was a success, but the legacy of that event and strength of the sport in the South American country continues to flourish in 2020.
Created, developed and organised by the Argentina Handball Confederation (Confederación Argentina de Handball – CAH), the first-ever ‘Argentina Beach Handball Circuit’ (‘Circuito de Argentino Beach Handball’) launched a few weeks ago and features six regional competitions with teams qualifying through to the ‘Argentina Cup’ (‘Copa Argentina’) finals weekend.
All tournaments are open for any national or international teams and feature both adult (17+ years old) and youth (13-16 years old), women’s and men’s competitions.
Beach handball gained national attention in Argentina after the women’s youth team won gold at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and the men won bronze, followed by the senior women also taking gold, at the 2019 South American Beach Games, also held in Argentina, in Rosario.
The Circuito de Argentino Beach Handball aims to continue capitalising on that success while showcasing the sport throughout the different provinces of the country to increase awareness amongst fans and the talent base of players and coaches – a sustained, long-term evolution of the sport.
The CAH has worked closely with regional federations, private business and local municipalities to bring the circuit to life off the court too with all events free to enter for fans and featuring DJs, food, drink and the chance for anyone attending to try out the sport through ‘Beach Handball Clinics’ featuring those Olympic Games-medallists.
The six main tournaments are known as ‘ARENA 1000’ events, in which the champions and runners-up of each – 12 in total – will qualify for the Copa Argentina, where the winner of the Circuit will be determined. Alongside these ARENA 1000 competitions, there will also be ARENA 500 events, which will not feature qualification through to the Copa Argentina, and events for younger players.
With four events completed already, the circuit has two of the six regional competitions remaining before the full line-up of teams for the Copa Argentina are known.
“We have lived for many years with the fact that beach handball was only played in Argentina by the national team, but that will change now,” said Leticia Brunati, who coached the Argentinian youth women to that Olympic gold medal on home sand. “This circuit will allow us to have a greater number of players, which is essential for us coaches.
“Beach handball played at club level it is extremely important and will make players develop outside of the national teams – it will nurture the beach handball revolution taking place in our country.”
“The circuit is coming at the right time,” said Gonzalo Vieyra, captain of the Argentina men’s senior national team. “It is more strategic than the local or regional tournaments which had been taking place over recent years – it means that we can now channel all the development that was done and it will have a much greater relevance and enable that jump that the sport needs to continue growing.
“Crucially, it is also going to help the clubs themselves generate structures not linked to indoor but specific to beach handball,” he added. “New clubs dedicated to this sport will be born and it could prove to be the first step on the way to having exclusive beach handball athletes.”
Various youth tournaments are taking place alongside the ARENA 1000 events, including the ‘Beach Handball Metropolitan League’ and a number of training camps, all of which will provide Brunati, in her role as the national technical coordinator in charge of detecting talent for the next Youth Olympic Games – Dakar 2022, the opportunity to see the next generation coming through.
Any team or players wanting to be part of the debut Circuito de Argentino Beach Handball should email: [email protected] Click HERE for further information about the concept and regulations of the circuit.
For the latest news on handball in Argentina, visit the official website and social media channels of the Argentina Handball Confederation:
CIRCUITO DE ARGENTINO BEACH HANDBALL – 2020 DATES AND VENUES
Neuquén: 30 January-2 February
Neuquén is located in the south-west of Argentina and is the largest city of Patagonia.
San Nicolás: 7-9 February
San Nicolás is a city in the northern most point of Buenos Aires province, close to the city of Rosario.
Rada Tilly: 7-9 February
Rada Tilly is situated in Chubut Province in the south of Argentina.
Tunuyán: 15-16 February
Close to the Chilean border, Tunuyán lies in the province of Mendoza in the central-west part of Argentina, in the ‘Valle de Uco’ region, known for its wine industry.
Viedma: 22-23 February
Viedma is the capital of the Rio Negro province in south-central Argentina, 1000km south-west of Buenos Aires.
Parque Sarmiento: 22 February
Parque Sarmiento is in the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city. The park hosted beach handball at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games with the facility still used for the sport.
Copa America: Balneario El Cóndor: 28 February-1 March
This holiday resort is well-known for the beautiful stretch of coastline it sits on, on the east coast of Argentina where the Rio Negro meets the sea.
Photo: Javier Sallustro