28 Jan. 2022
In February 2022, the Asian Handball Federation (AHF) and the African Handball Confederation (CAHB) will stage their qualification events for this year’s IHF Women’s Junior (U20) and Youth (U18) World Championships.
The preparations for the tournaments in Kazakhstan and Guinea are well underway and, today, we will take a look at what lies ahead.
AHF Women’s Asian Junior and Youth Championships
The 16th edition of the AHF Women’s Asian Junior Championship will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 13 to 20 February 2022 after being postponed from November 2021 due to COVID-19, with the draw having been recently made at the AHF headquarters in Kuwait.
Six teams will be competing in the largest city of Kazakhstan, with Republic of Korea being the team to beat as they have won every championship since it started. The previous edition, held in Lebanon in 2019, saw Korea beat Japan 26:19 in the final to make it 15 gold medals in a row.
Along with the host nation Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran and Thailand will be hoping to upset the odds and knock the Koreans off of their throne.
Following on from the junior draw, the AHF also allocated teams for the postponed ninth edition of the AHF Women’s Asian Youth Championship. Originally due to take place in November 2021, it will get underway a few days after the AHF Women’s Asian Junior Championship has concluded at the same venue, from 25 February to 6 March.
Again, the Koreans have a 100% record in the championship, winning all previous editions. Last time out, in 2019, they beat PR of China in the final to make it eight titles in a row.
They have been drawn in Preliminary Group A alongside Uzbekistan, India and Syria. Group B sees Kazakhstan line up alongside Chinese Taipei, Iran and Kuwait. Both Syria and Kuwait are set to make their debuts in the championship.
CAHB Women’s African Junior and Youth Championships
Earlier this month, the African Handball Confederation (CAHB) made the draws for both their re-arranged youth and junior women’s continental championships.
After being postponed from 2021 due to COVID-19, they will be played in Conakry, Guinea this year, with the CAHB Women’s Junior and Youth African Championship taking place from 19 to 26 February 2022. The championship is the 28th edition and teams were drawn into two initial preliminary groups.
Group A sees Angola, Egypt, Zambia and Burkina Faso placed together, while hosts Guinea find themselves alongside Algeria, Nigeria and Tunisia in Group B.
Zambia are set to make their debut in the championship while Burkina Faso will be returning to action for the first time since 2011, when they made their own debut.
Tunisia won the last edition, held in Niamey, Niger in 2019 after coming from behind against pre-tournament favourites Angola in a nail-biting final to win 26:25. It was Tunisia’s first-ever women’s continental title at the junior level after five second place finishes – four of which were behind their final opponents.
In the youth championship, which is scheduled to be played from 27 February to 6 March, six teams have entered, including Egypt, Algeria, Guinea and championship debutants Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Gambia.
Egypt were crowned champions of the last edition, the 2019 CAHB Women’s African Youth Championship in Niamey, Niger, winning their third championship in a row after 2015 and 2017.
The tournaments act as qualification events for the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship, which will be played in Slovenia in the period from 22 June to 3 July, and the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth (U18) World Championship, which will be played in Georgia from 3 to 14 August.
At both the Asian women’s junior and youth continental championships, five places at the World Championships this summer are at stake, while the African women’s junior teams will fight for one of the four spots available at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship and the youth teams battle it out for one of the three IHF Women’s Youth World Championship places.