France and Norway go in search of three-peats
Said to be a mix of football, basketball and water polo, the fast-paced action of handball has long been dominated by the Europeans. No teams outside of Europe have won the men’s Olympic gold medal while only South Korea in 1988 and 1992 managed to kick the Europeans off the top of the podium in the women’s competition. The French men's team and Norway's women's team will both be looking for a slice of history as they look to be the first teams to win three straight Olympic gold medals in the sport.
Men to watch: Despite missing out on Rio qualification, the Aussie men showed their progression in the sport at the 2015 Emerging Nations Championship in Kosovo where a number of players put in some strong performances. Luke Behrendorff and Tomasz Szklarski made their senior national debuts in Australia’s big win over Armenia scoring 25 goals between them.
Women to watch: Australia missed out on securing a berth at the 2015 World Championships after finishing fourth of four teams at the final qualification tournament. Victoria Fletcher and Alice Keighley both represented Australia at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics and remain a focal part of the team.
Qualification, Nomination & Selection
Both the Australian men's and women's handball teams failed to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The men's team's final chance was at the Asian Qualification Tournament where they finished without a victory.
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Teams qualified (as of March 2016)
- Men – Brazil, France, Argentina, Qatar, Germany, Egypt.
- Women – Brazil, Norway, Angola, Argentina, South Korea, Spain, Netherlands, France, Romania, Montenegro, Russia and Sweden.
Competition Format & Events
Handball is a fast-paced game involving two teams of seven players on court who pass, throw, catch and dribble a small ball with their hands while trying to score goals. The team (squad of 14) with the most goals wins the game. A game consists of two 30-minute halves with a 10-minute half-time break.
The court for handball is 40 metres long and 20 metres wide. The goal area is D-shaped, arcing from the corners to a straight line six metres in front of the goal. The arcing sides similarly create a six-metre distance from the nearest part of the goal at all points. Players cannot be inside the arc when they have a shot at goal.
The Olympic tournament includes 12 teams for both men and women. The teams are split into two groups of six with each team playing the team in their group once each. The top four teams from each group qualify for the quarter-finals where the tournament becomes a knockout competition. The winners of the semi-finals playoff for gold and the losers of the semi-finals playoff for bronze.
Australia and Olympic Handball
Australia’s men’s and women’s teams have never qualified for the Olympic handball competition at an away Games. Both teams competed at Sydney 2000 by virtue of Australia being the host nation.
Did you know
A player can only hold the ball for three seconds at a time and may only take three steps each time they’re in possession.
- No team has ever won three Olympic gold medals in a row in handball. The French men's team and the Norwegian women's team will be looking to be the first to achieve a golden three-peat in Rio.
- Russia's Andrey Lavrov won three gold and a bronze medal in four Olympic Games.
Pre-Rio AUS Tally
8 (Days 9-16)
- Medal Events
2 (2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
- Total Athletes
336 (168 men & 168 women)
- AUS Athletes
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