“Thank you so much, Spain” – IHF President Moustafa officially opens 25th IHF Women’s World Championship

01 Dec. 2021

“Thank you so much, Spain” – IHF President Moustafa officially opens 25th IHF Women’s World Championship

The 25th IHF Women’s World Championship in Spain was officially opened at the Palacio de los Deportes in Torrevieja by IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa, following an opening ceremony which represented the Mediterranean culture of the host nation.

Ahead of the opening game between hosts Spain and Argentina, the arena was darkened as four nymphs, symbolising the concept of Mediterranean culture through water, entered the court, followed by 12 ‘Warriors of Fire’ representing the force that characterises handball and with this, also playing with the idea of the duality between fire and water.

A powerful specially-choregraphed dance show then followed, involving structures on court, acrobatic dancing, breakdancing, fire and water, before all the flags of the 32 participating teams were ceremonially marched onto court, plus the IHF flag.

‘Lola’, the official Spain 2021 mascot then appeared to rapturous applause before Spanish singer Carlos Baute gave a mesmerising performance of some of his classic songs, before ending on the official Spain 2021 song ‘Lala Gol’.

Once the applause had died down, two opening speeches were delivered in front of a number of VIPs, including Miquel Iceta Llorens, Minister of Culture and Sport of the Spanish Government, Alejandro Blanco Bravo, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee and the mayors of the four Spain 2021 host cities.

“Thank you very much for the support of this championship,” said President of the Royal Spanish Handball Federation, Francisco V. Blázquez to IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa in his opening speech, which also included thanks to those who have helped make Spain 2021 possible in such difficult times. He concluded his speech by turning to Dr Moustafa and exclaiming “welcome to my country,” with a wide smile.

“Welcome all of you to the 25th IHF Women’s World Championship here in Spain,” responded Dr Moustafa as he opened his speech.

“The IHF, together with the Royal Spanish Handball Federation and the Spain Ministry of Health worked out a COVID-19 Precaution Plan aimed to safeguard the health of our stakeholders; I ask all of you – the teams and delegations, to comply with the conditions including in this plan in order to get this event as safe as possible,” he continued.

“I want to give my gratitude to the Spanish Government that you accepted to organise this IHF Women’s World Championship in this very difficult time [and] I want to give my gratitude to the spectators – it’s the first time for a long time that we played with spectators. I want to confirm it’s a very good decision from the Government of Spain to organise this World Championship with spectators. Thank you so much, Spain.

“In the name of the IHF I want to congratulate all 32 teams for their qualification [and] I convey my thanks to our Continental Confederations for organising the qualifications for this World Championship.

“I hope to see, as always, the high performance of the players, referee and trainers and the good cooperation between the players and the coach on one side and between both of them and the referees on the other hand.

“I hope for a very good success for the organisation committee and the International Handball Federation that we can serve our stakeholders in this very bad time. Thank you so much and very good luck in organising this World Championship.

“I hope that the best teams will reach the finals under the motto of ‘Fair Play'. Stay safe and healthy.”

Photo: RFEBM / J. L. Recio