10 Feb. 2020
140 days ahead of the start of the 2020 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball Championships in Pescara, Italy and preparations for the event by the Italian Handball Federation (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Handball – FIGH) and local organising committee, continue apace as the beach handball world looks forward to the event which starts on Tuesday 30 June and runs until Sunday 5 July.
This week IHF Beach Handball Working Group (BHWG) Chairman Giampiero Masi, BHWG Member Sasa Kuburovic and Hristo Boskoski from the IHF Head Office were in Italy for a technical inspection and meetings surrounding the ongoing work for the championship.
In Pescara, they were welcomed by Mayor Carlo Masci, Councillor for Sport Patrizia Martelli and Project Manager of Pescara 2020, Saverio Fritella, with the group visiting the site of the championships at Stadio del Mare and other areas before discussing a variety of topics.
The group then moved to the FIGH Head Office at the Olympic Stadium in Rome the following day for more in-depth discussions around the organisation, including a focus on transportation, volunteers and media.
The volunteering programme has been entitled ‘Be Part of the Game’ and was launched late last year through a promotional campaign in Pescara with members of the Italian national teams helping with the campaign. The programme, which has a special link to the Faculty of Physical Education at the Gabriele d'Annunzio University of Chieti and Pescara (Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti – Pescara), will see 100 volunteers participate.
16 men’s and 16 women’s nations will participate at Pescara 2020 which will feature around 400 athletes from five continents across 144 matches, split between the men’s and women’s competitions which will be held across three courts in the city which is one of the most populous in the Abruzzo region of Italy and one of the top 10 economic, commercial and tourist centres on the Adriatic coast.
Around 120,000 people live in Pescara which hosted the 2009 Mediterranean Games, as well as the debut edition of the Mediterranean Beach Games, back in 2015. It was also named the 2012 European City of Sport.
The 32 teams come from 20 different nations currently, with one team in each competition still to be confirmed. The men’s competition features Italy, Brazil, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, United States of America and one further team to be confirmed.
The women’s competition features Italy, Greece, Tunisia, China, Vietnam, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, United States of America and one further to be confirmed.
And when the whistle blows for the first throw-offs on 30 June it will mark the first time that Italy – where beach handball originated – has ever hosted an IHF Beach Handball World Championship and follows their hosting of the 1985 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship and 2001 IHF Women’s World Championship. Italy has experience of large-scale beach competitions, having hosted the first-ever EHF European Beach Handball Championships, in 2000, in Gaeta, and again in 2007, in Misano Adriatico.
“We have taken the organisation of the IHF Beach Handball World Championships to heart,” said FIGH President Pasquale Loria to IHF.info following the visit. “I believe that the area that we have chosen for the arena is exceptional and it will bring beach handball directly into the heart of Pescara – exactly in the centre of a riviera where summer lives relentlessly.
“The local institutions, especially in the Municipality of Pescara with the Mayor, Mr. Carlo Masci, wished to get involved in the inspection and this is also a very significant factor in the path that will lead us to the world championships,” he added.
“The Italian Handball Federation is really glad to be able to deal with such a high quality context at an organisational level before the sporting one and we will all do our best to create an unforgettable event for everybody involved.”
The inspection visit comes after the meeting at the IHF headquarters in Basel, Switzerland last November, when IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa and FIGH representatives discussed a number of different aspects of the championships, including marketing, TV and livestreaming as well as a special, standalone opening ceremony one day ahead of the commencement of matches.
Follow the build-up to Pescara 2020 by using the following official social media and website of the championship, using the hashtags #pescara2020, #beachhandball and #bepartofthegame.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beachhandball2020 & https://www.facebook.com/pallamano/