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Date: 8/25/2014

After five competition days including 24 matches of 12 teams the Korean girls and the Slovenian boys are the new Youth Olympic Games handball champions. In the finals in Nanjing, China, on Monday (25 August) Korea took a highly close 32:31 (17:14) victory against Russia, Slovenia dethroned defending champions Egypt by 31:25 (13:11) – so two Youth Olympic Games debutants took the gold medals. Sweden (girls) and Norway (boys) were the bronze medallists in Nanjing.

Having three continents represented in the finals (Africa, Asia and Europe) and all participating four continents (including Pan-America) represented in the semi-finals, the Youth Olympic Games were another signal and proof for the global development of handball. This was also recognized by IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach, who attended the boys’ final in the JSC Gymnasium in Nanjing.


The gold medallists Korea and Slovenia were awarded by IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa and the South African IOC Member Sam Ramsany, the silver medals were awarded by Leon Kalin, Chairman of the IHF Commission of Organizing and Competitions and the Spanish IOC Member Marisol Casado to Russia and Egypt, and the bronze medallists were awarded by Alexandra do Nascimento, handball role of the YOG, and Aicha Garad Ali, IOC Member from Djibouti to Sweden and Norway.


In the women’s tournament finally three teams had only conceeded one single defeat during the competition – the three medallists. And finally Korea continued their summer fairy tale: Seven weeks after the U20 team became Women’s Junior World Champions for the first time ever, the U18 girls were on the winners’ podium in Nanjing – with two players, who were part of both titles: double gold medallists Youjin Hur and Soyeong Yu.


And like in Croatia (37:34), the Asian champions beat Russia in the final to become YOG champions also for the first time ever – this time by a highly close victory.

The unlucky European runners-ups did not only lose their second straight final against Korea this summer, but also lost their second consecutive YOG final after the 26:28 four years ago in Singapore against Denmark to “defend” their silver medals.

Including the Olympic Games it was the third gold medal for a Korean team, after the women had won the titles at the 1998 Games in Seoul and the 1992 Games in Barcelona.


The final was on the edge with constantly changing leads, absolutely worth a Youth Olympic Games’ gold medal match. Nothing was decided until minute 56, then Russia (leading by 30:29) missed three chances and the Koreans decided the match by a triple strike for 32:30. Top scorer of the final was Korean Kyungmin Kang by twelve goals.




The boys’ final had been close too – but until minute 44 and the score of 20:19 in favour of Slovenia. After the early 4:3 defending champions Egypt had not been in lead anymore, but were intermediately close to turn the match around in the middle of the second half. Finally a 6:0 series to 26:19 provided Slovenia with the first ever title in an international younger age category competition after becoming 2003 and 2009 bronze medallists at Junior World Championships and 2004, 2010 and 2012 bronze medallists at European junior championships. Additionally the triumph of Nanjing is the first ever Olympic medal (including seniors) for the Slovenian Handball Federation.


Match winners for the new champions were goalkeeper Urh Kastelic (11 saves) and the top scorers Gal Marguc and Balz Janc, who stroke eight goals each. Best Egyptian scorer was Aly Refaat by five goals.


Before those exciting finals, both Scandinavian participants had won the bronze medals in two more intercontinental duels: The Swedish girls beat Brazil 23:16 to finish third ranked and the Norwegian boys were clearly dominant against Qatar (34:26). Both matches had already been decided at the break.


The preliminary round group winners Russia (30:22 against Brazil) and Egypt (34:26 against Qatar) had won their semi-finals in style and made it to the finals with an unbeaten record, while the later-on YOG champions Korea (25:24 against Sweden) and Slovenia (33:30 in the only all-European semi against Norway) needed to struggle hard to fight for gold.


The Angolan girls and the Brazilian secured the fifth places of both tournaments. The African champions left behind China (31:18 and 22:22), while the Pan-American champions won both placement matches (38:31, 28:27) against Tunisia.

In general, the performing level was much higher compared to the first YOG edition in Singapore, proved by the much closer results in both tournaments.

The next Youth Olympic Summer Games will be hosted by Argentine capital Buenos Aires in 2018.


Read also this interview with handball role model Alexandra do Nascimento (Brazilian World Champion and former Grundfos IHF World Handball Player of the Year 2011) about her impressions and experiences at the Youth Olympic Games here: http://www.ihf.info/MediaCenter/News/NewsDetails/tabid/130/Default.aspx?ID=2132



Result summary 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing:

Girls’ tournament:

Placement matches 5/6:

China – Angola 18:31 (6:14), 22:22 (8:11)


Korea – Sweden 25:24 (11:10)

Russia – Brazil 30:22 (17:7)

Bronze final:

Sweden – Brazil 23:16 (11:5)


Korea – Russia 32:31 (17:14)


Final ranking:

GOLD: Korea

SILVER: Russia

BRONZE: Sweden

4. Brazil

5. Angola

6. China


Boys’ tournament:

Placement matches 5/6:

Brazil – Tunisia 38:31 (23:15), 28:27 (13:12)


Egypt – Qatar 34:26 (15:14)

Norway – Slovenia 30:33 (14:13)

Bronze final:

Qatar – Norway 25:33 (13:19)


Egypt – Slovenia 25:31 (11:13)


Final ranking:

GOLD: Slovenia


BRONZE: Norway

4. Qatar

5. Brazil

6. Tunisia