05 Jan. 2023
The all-conquering Croatian men’s beach handball team were revealed on Thursday (5 January) as one of the candidates competing in an online vote to win the prestigious ‘The World Games Team of the Year 2022’ award.
The award is presented by the International World Games Association (IWGA) and recognises the ‘Best of the Best’ who competed at The World Games 2022, held in Birmingham, USA, last year.
You can see a short video of the team on the IWGA YouTube channel here.
“It’s a kind of tradition, starting a new year celebrating the achievements of our outstanding athletes,” said IWGA President José Perurena.
“But this time, it’s really special - the voting brings back wonderful memories of our event in Birmingham where our athletes experienced southern hospitality and celebrated the reunion of The World Games family after the pandemic.
“The voting will give The World Games athletes a big stage, so the Games are not yet history at all.”
If you are a fan of the team, players, beach handball or handball, show your support by voting, following these steps – and tell a friend, too. Voting opens at 12:00 GMT on Tuesday 10 January.
How to vote
1. From 10 January, visit the IWGA voting page here: https://www.theworldgames.org/awards/Team-of-the-Year-2022-109
2. Go to the Croatia men’s team / beach handball picture.
3. Click on ‘Vote’ – Croatia will receive two votes.
4. Choose a second candidate and click ‘Vote’ – your second choice will receive one vote. You must vote for TWO candidates each time. Two votes go to your first-choice candidate (Croatia men’s beach handball team), and one vote to your second choice. If you try to give votes to one candidate only, the votes will not be registered. This is to bring The World Games family closer together by introducing athletes to more than just their ‘own’ fans.
5. Do this once every 24 hours (you are only allowed to vote once every 24 hours).
6. From 22 January at 12:00 GMT, the 10 highest-ranked candidates will continue. All candidates will restart with 0 votes.
7. Repeat the process above until 31 January at 12:00 GMT.
8. Once you have voted, share your vote on your social media channels using the hashtag #beachhandball and tell all your friends to vote for the Croatia men’s beach handball team.
The number of votes cast for each candidate will be visible throughout the campaign. All voters shall act in accordance with fair play in sport. The IWGA will scrutinise the voting process closely, and any anomalies will be investigated. Any conduct that is against the sporting spirit may result in consequences. Full details are available here.
About the Croatia men’s beach handball team
The Croatia men’s beach handball team had an unprecedented 2022. Led by coach Mladen Paradžik and captain Ivan Jurić, they won the 2022 IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship in Heraklion, Greece, in June and the 2022 IWGA World Games in Birmingham, USA, in July.
In between the two competitions, they also won the first-ever stage of the IHF Beach Handball Global Tour, held in Gdansk, Poland.
But the Croatia team’s success and commitment to the sport is not only on the sand, but also off it.
Like many of the players within the sport, they are ambassadors for beach handball 24/7 and even during their campaign to win gold in Birmingham, the squad took time out to meet with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President and fan of the sport, Dr Thomas Bach, to discuss how the sport continues to grow and evolve.
Their global success and standing have not gone unnoticed at home in Croatia. In December, they were recognised with a prestigious Croatian Olympic Committee (Hrvatski olimpijski odbor) Award, alongside the Croatian men’s football team who claimed bronze at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with the beach handball team winning the ‘Outstanding Performance’ award.
The award was extra special for Paradžik. “It was a great honour to be nominated and mentioned,” he said. “This is a big deal for Croatian beach handball. This year, we are marking 20 years of beach handball in Croatia, so our exceptional results have been a worthy celebration of this anniversary.
“We remember all previous generations of players, selectors and expert staff/management who contributed to the positioning of Croatia as the most successful European beach handball nation and this award is recognition and proof that hard work and discipline pay off.”
Past beach handball / IWGA award representation
Greece’s women’s beach handball team received more than 15,000 votes to place fifth overall in 2019, while Brazil men’s beach handball team were in contention in 2020, the second time they were shortlisted following their nomination in 2014. Last year, the German women’s team were up for the honour.
July 2014 saw the Brazil men’s beach handball team win the ‘IWGA Team of the Month for July 2014’ award after winning the 2014 IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship on home sand, while their women’s team finished 13th in the ‘IWGA Greatest Athlete of All Time’ award with 17,153 votes.
The ‘Handball Ninja’, a.k.a. USA men’s beach handball player Ebiye Jeremy Udo-Udoma, won the ‘IWGA Athlete of the Month’ award in June 2020.
About The World Games
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee.
The IHF has been an IWGA Member Federation since 1997, with beach handball featuring in various forms at every edition since the sixth one in 2001.
The next, 12th edition of The World Games will be held in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China, from 7 to 17 August 2025 and will feature up to 5,000 participants. The 11th edition, held in Birmingham, USA, featured over 30 sports and 100 countries, with Croatia’s men and Germany’s women winning their respective beach handball titles.