07 Dec. 2022
Founded 46 years ago, in 1976, the Turkish Handball Federation (THF) has been striving to achieve greatness, with handball being played in the country for most of the past 100 years.
The sport started, like in every other country, like an outdoor game, with the first official match taking place in 1938. Since then, the sport has made great strides and morphed into the fast-paced, athletic one that everyone knows, and this has made no exception in Türkiye, with excellent developments in the emerging country in the past decade.
On 4 February 1976, the Turkish Handball Federation was formed, and since then, the level of professionalism in the sport has grown, with club teams being at the front of the development.
Türkiye have celebrated 99 years of history in late October, and it was a good moment for the president of the THF to reflect upon the challenges that the organisation faces, but more so the big plans for the future that the Turkish Handball Federation have laid down.
The aims are significant, with the Turkish Handball Federation striving to deliver a competitive environment for the two national teams, men and women, to challenge for a place at the Olympic Games in 2028 and 2032.
“In this context, we work for the training of our coaches; we try to allocate resources for them. Our biggest goal is to fly our flag with the handball team in the Olympic Games in 2028 and 2032. That’s why we are already investing in our children born in 2006 and 2008,” said the president of the THF, Uğur Kılıç.
Neither the men’s nor the women’s teams have participated so far in any IHF World Championship edition, nor at the EHF EURO, with the women’s team going closer, with a golden generation that was spearheaded by two creative backs, Yeliz Ozel and Serpil Iskenderoglu.
But improvement has been made at the club level, where champions Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK have featured in the EHF Champions League Women in the past two seasons, delivering their first-ever win in the competition this season.
The Türkiye men’s national team has finished as the runners-up at the 2017 IHF Men’s Emerging Nations Championship, earning the silver medal, with a disappointing 25:26 loss against the Faroe Islands in the big final.
The big aim, though, has already been mentioned, which is why the THF is asking physical education teachers to join the cause and try to improve handball in the country.
“The most pleasing development for us was that handball stakeholders embraced this beautiful game much more tightly and started to dream big. The happiness of the handball coaches who reached us from all over the country and our children who started handball motivated us as well,” said Kılıç.
“We have tens of thousands of handball-based physical education teachers who have turned their backs on handball for many years. Please come back and support us. Be with us. Let’s fight together; let’s strengthen our strength. I believe that if we come together, we will achieve our goals much faster,” added the THF President.
With a large pool of athletes to choose from, Türkiye have correctly identified that their future resides with the base of the handball pyramid, as they are trying to develop the sport from the ground up.
“If the mind and passion come together, we can achieve this. The only thing that needs to be done is this. If everyone, from their coaches to their athletes, plans their life and career according to handball, then we can climb the ladder of success with the strength they provide. Again, I want to underline that our physical education teachers at schools are our athletes. They need to feed our resources. I believe we will succeed together,” concluded Kılıç.
Photo: Turkish Handball Federation / Ekrem Öszoy