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Date: 7/20/2009

Ahead of the final day of competition at the World Games in Kaohsiung, ihf.info spoke to Mr Miguel Roca, 1st Vice President of the International Handball Federation, about his impressions of the World Games tournament and the future of beach handball world wide.


“The International Federation is very satisfied with the progress beach handball is making,” said Mr Roca.


“The IHF’s Beach Handball Working Group has done a fantastic job, they are a dynamic group of people and a real catalyst for the development of the game,” he continued.


16 teams have been in Chinese Taipei playing in the World Games, the largest multi-sport event for non-Olympic sports held every four years. This is handball’s third appearance in the Games.


“The next step for us is to become a permanent sport within the World Games programme,” he said. “We’ve had discussions with the International World Games Association, and are already thinking about our next World Games event.”


The World Games will be back in 2013 in a host city to be announced at the end of the 2009 Games. The IHF would like to extend the beach handball event by one day to include an additional day, a rest day for players and an extra insurance policy should bad weather hit again.


The World Games in Akita, Japan in 2001 was disrupted by a typhoon and the 2009 event was lucky not to have been badly affected by Typhoon Molave, which hit the Taiwanese island the day before the first game threw off.


“The World Games event in Kaohsiung has been a tremendous success,” said Mr Roca. “We have had some terrific press coverage on the island, our team has worked well and we’ve seen some amazing matches.”


He was full of praise for the people behind the running for the event. He said: “The IHF is indebted to the work of the Beach Handball Working Group and the technical team of referees and officials, who have worked so hard on the Games.


“Of course I also have to thank the local organisers, the KOC, and the many, many volunteers, who have worked on the event, they have done a very good job indeed.”


As to the future of beach handball, Mr Roca clearly sees a great future for the sport.


“Beach handball is at the beginning of its development,” he said. “It has a long way to go to catch indoor handball but the sport will grow quickly.


“We need to think carefully about marketing and about creating events and proper beach venues.


“I’m also convinced that the IHF must work very closely with the continental federations, and especially the European Handball Federation, the continent where beach handball is most developed, if the sport is to achieve its full potential.”


Mr Roca will be in the beach handball arena on Sunday to watch the final matches of the World Games tournament, and will welcome invited guests from the International World Games Association to once again put handball’s case for full World Games status.