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Date: 4/4/2018

The town of Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently held the sixth annual edition of the Handball is my Future mens youth tournament.


Germany debut win in 2018

The 2018 event featured players born in 2000 or later across eight teams: Germany (GER), Croatia (CRO), Slovenia (SLO), Austria (AUT), Switzerland (SUI), Poland (POL), Qatar (QAT) and hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH).


With all 20 games of the tournament taking place at the KSC Sports Hall, and streamed online live, the Preliminary Round saw two groups of four teams each (Group A: BIH, CRO, POL, GER) (Group B: SLO, SUI, AUT, QAT) with the top two sides going straight through to the semi-finals onwards.


Despite 10 goals from Marin Sincic, Croatia lost to Erik Wudtkes Germany in the final 26:24 (12:12). Loris Kotte top-scored for the German side who were appearing in the tournament for the first time.


Slovenia beat Austria 29:20 (12:11) in the bronze medal match with Urban Starc scoring eight times for Jani Klemencics Slovenia team, while in the 5/6 Placement match Bosnia and Herzegovina lost against Switzerland 24:25 (13:13), and Poland avoided a last place finish, beating Qatar 38:19 (21:9) in the 7/8 Placement.


Qatars young team attended the tournament as part of their preparations for the upcoming 2018 AHF Asian Mens Youth Championship in Jordan, in August, while the European teams had the chance to prepare for the upcoming summer of youth events which include the Mens 18 EHF EURO in Croatia and Mens 18 and 20 Championships in Austria/Georgia and FYR Macedonia/Montenegro, respectively.


The tournament also featured some of the top referee pairs in the world with IHF couples Amar/Dino Konjicanin (BIH), Matija Gubica/Boris Milosevic (CRO), Gjorgji Nacevski/Slave Nikolov (MKD) and Dusan Stojkovic/Nenad Nikolic (SRB) whistling games.



Handball is my Future has been held in the centrally-located town in Bosnia and Herzegovina every year since 2013 and is organised by local club MRK Iskra Bugojno, supported by the Qatar Handball Association (QHA).


The first edition of Handball is my Future was held back in 2013 and featured the two age categories of Youth (U17 - 96/97) and Junior (U19 - 94/95) with Slovenia winning both tournaments and the soon to be world-famous Blaz Janc (SLO) named best player in the junior competition.


Countries represented at the inaugural edition included SLO, QAT, BIH, CRO as well as Slovakia (SVK), FYR Macedonia (MKD) and Serbia (SRB).


2014 again had two age competitions (Youth 98/99 and Junior 96/97) with Slovenia again winning both thanks to a 21:20 (10:10) victory over Qatar in the final of the junior tournament and 20:19 (11:8) defeat of Croatia in the youth final.  Household names were again born in Bugojno as Urh Kastelic (SLO) was named best goalkeeper and Filip Taleski (MKD) top scorer.


As the tournament grew in stature, the dates were formalised to fit in with the IHF global calendar of events and found its resting place across four days over the international week in March/April. It also focussed on just one age group, namely the U19, or youth category, with 2015 being solely for the 1996 generation.  In that tournament Slovenia again won, beating Croatia 24:21 (13:10) in the final.


Players born in 1998 or younger were also the focus of the 2016 edition and Slovenia, for the first time in the tournament history, did not make the final as Croatia ran away with the title, beating Poland 31:28 (13:13) to take the honours.


Last years edition saw Qatar Head Coach and IHF Mens World Championship winning coach Valero Rivera open the tournament for the generation born in 1998 or younger and Slovenia got back to winning ways, defeating Poland who lost the final for the second year running 23:22 (16:10).




1 Germany (GER)

2 Croatia (CRO)

3 Slovenia (SLO)

4 Austria (AUT)

5 Switzerland (SUI)

6 Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH)

7 Poland (POL)

8 Qatar (QAT)


Best Player: Juri Knoor (GER)

Best Goalkeeper: Jaka Glavan (SLO)

Top Scorer: Wanner Levin (SUI)

Photo: QHA