10 Jan. 2019
Ahead of the first games of the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship, the Official Opening Media Conference took place at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany.
IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa welcomed the world’s gathered media to Germany and Denmark and explained the long and successful process behind the unified team of Korea appearing at the championship. He also talked about the continued development of IHF referees and their preparation.
Ahead of the tournament, the IHF President was in no doubt that the tournament would be a success. “I am certain that Denmark and Germany will give it their all to live up to the high expectations we all have,” he said. “I am sure they will not miss out on the opportunity to present themselves and our sport in the best possible way and with the enthusiasm of these two handball-crazy countries will carry everyone away and make the world championship stand out.
“The 26th IHF Men’s World Championship will also be a great opportunity to show once more the unique power of sport to unite people and to deliver the message of peace to the world as – for the first time in history – a team represented by players from both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will compete under one flag at an IHF World Championship.”
Playing Rules and Referees Commission (PRC) Chairman Ramon Gallego also provided details of the continued development of the 25th team at the world championship – the referees.
“For the last six or seven years we are working more and more professionally with our referees and delegates,” said Gallego. “We have three different targets: to co-operate with modern handball, to cooperate with the players and teams to show a high level with the least interruptions as possible, and to protect the health of the players - even though handball is a contact sport it can never be violent.
“These together mean we can present the most attractive image of handball possible, so we can show the young generation how nice our game is.
“We are also continuing with our specialist referee fitness and dedicated coaches with data provided all-year around – in addition to this we also have mental training.
Gallego also revealed that all 24 head coaches involved received information about the most important topics which the referees are working on, creating a knowledge exchange with both sides understanding what each other wants.
“In addition to sending the information previous, the day before the first matches we sat down with all 24 coaches across all the venues and discussed these topics and then listened to them and what they wanted us to understand. I can say the final conclusion was very positive; they are happy with our message – all of us are in the same seat.”
To close the media conference, an organisational overview from both the Danish and German co-hosts was given.
President of the German Handball Federation (DHB) Andreas Michelmann, expressed his gratitude to the IHF for showing trust in both Germany and Denmark to co-host and said that the first goal of filling halls had already been reached, not only in Berlin, but in Munich too before adding that he hoped the German team will respond to the atmosphere in the hall with their performances on court, but, more than anything he stressed that he wanted to be good hosts to the world.
Mark Schober, DHB Secretary General then highlighted the special interest in the opening match later on with numerous VIPs and guests of honour including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, the North and South Korea Ambassadors, Egyptian Prime Minister H.E. Mostafa Madbouly, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports H.E. Ashraf Sobhy, IOC President Dr Thomas Bach and a variety of other VIPs.
The media conference then ended with Per Bertlesen, Commission of Organising and Competitions (COC) Chairman, giving an overview of what fans can expect in Denmark.