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Date: 8/14/2012

On the fringes of the Olympic Games in the British capital IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa comments on the sports festival under the five rings

Mr President, could you please tell us you your impressions of these Games!
Moustafa: These Games are fantastic. And our sport made a major contribution to its success. Since the Games handball hasn’t been just a marginal sport in Great Britain anymore. We had full halls and great audience. People were talking about handball everywhere no matter if in the tube, the Olympic Park or in the streets.

What’s your evaluation about the sporting level of the Olympic Handball Tournaments?

Moustafa: There were brilliant. We already started our analyses during the Games and found out that the level at the London Tournaments was even considerably higher than in Beijing. And this does not only concern the players but also the referees. All in all, the IHF is really satisfied with the London Games.

The final phase was staged in a hall with a capacity of 12,000 seats which, however, was not sufficient to cope with large number of ticket requests. Will handball need a bigger hall at the Rio Games in 2016?
Moustafa: Based on the demand for tickets in London, we have to say yes. However, I would like to recall how the situation had been in the beginning. Handball was not well known in Great Britain. Therefore I agreed with the local organising committee prior to the Games that the preliminaries be staged at the 8,000-seat Copper Box. In return they promised us that the named hall will be used as a handball hall at long-term, also after the Games. In doing so, we hope to advance the development of handball.
Do you believe the Olympic Handball Tournaments to have a sustainable effect in Great Britain?
Moustafa:I am convinced that it will work. It is for sure that we are eager to support this development and therefore will launch a special development programme for Great Britain along with supportive measures that have existed for a while. The named programme, which will be implemented in cooperation with the European Handball Federation, is something new. We are working hand in hand with the EHF. We hope the Games will be the cornerstone for such development in order to make handball a popular sport in Great Britain too.

Dr Moustafa, you attended a number of Olympic Games in the past. What did you experience as unforgettable at the London Games?

Moustafa: It was definitely the audience. It is fantastic that the hall was sold out in the morning of a working day already though people knew that their home team would be clearly defeated, especially as the great atmosphere lasted although people knew that Great Britain would lose. It was a great experience for all of us.