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News Details

Date: 10/13/2018

Ahead of the final day of beach handball making its debut at the Olympic Games, IHF Beach Handball Working Group Chairman Giampiero Masi talks to IHF.info about the impact the sport has had at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

IHF.info: You are standing here in Sarmiento Park, on the day of the beach handball finals two hours before the first game and there are already over 500 people queuing outside. How does it feel?

Giampiero Masi: I am answering 50% with heart, 50% with my head. Twenty-five years ago, we started with this sport and now we are here for the first time in the Youth Olympic Games.

If I answer with my heart we have reached a dream here, but if I answer with my head, it is the first step towards a new dream of taking our sport to a summer Olympic Games.

Honestly, we had a great expectations for this week, but I could never imagine this situation for the semi-finals. Fans are here two, three hours before and are queuing out of the court. Yesterday, there were 300 metres of queues during the last main round matches. 

I have to be happy, and this happiness gives me a lot of motivation for the future of our sport.

IHF.info: What has the last week been like for you?

Giampiero Masi: This has been a global moment for us. To be here at the Youth Olympic Games is to now be recognised worldwide. This is not just a moment in a life, it’s something that has to be the base for our job for the future. 

To have the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach here today - who can imagine before to be one day sitting with him at a final match of beach handball at the Olympic Games? 

IHF.info: What has it been like to be here in Argentina?

Giampiero Masi: I can only thank all the people around the competition – everyone on site, but especially the volunteers.  Without the volunteers we cannot do anything - we can plan our activity from our side, but without them we can’t do anything. 

My words of thanks also go to the Organising Committee because they prepared everything according to our instructions, for sure we had to follow the IOC recommendation as it’s not our own world championship, but everything was done in a good atmosphere and there was a really nice relationship between the IHF officials and nominees and the Organising Committee.

Of course, the players are the key people in our championship, but the presence of the volunteers has been key.

Also, for the first time, we are here with the really young generation of IHF nominees, they are all under 35 years of age and I am so happy to say that their standard of performances was really high. 

We didn’t have complaints from the teams, of course sometimes during the matches, but this is part of the competition and the sport.

The young generation, if well instructed before, can reach high performances like the older generation if they are given the chance and this is something we have to think about in the future.

IHF.info: Has there been one special memory for you this week?

Giampiero Masi: The best memories for me are the friendship and relationships between the players and how they were available for all the kids and fans after the matches with selfies and everything.