Pauline Zberro talks Olympic Handball, and scrutinises past successes and future competition.
Olympic Handball has become more and more popular even in native Ireland, and has a growing following and participation with a continued growth particularly in schools and especially in Cork with the UCC Olympic Handball Club. This year sees a large team continuing on from last year’s triumphs
But its success stands in the spirit that reigns there. This is an intelligent team sport in which the social character becomes important. Handball requires dynamic: you have stand out to win and still be active. Cohesion and team spirit are all important. As well as being a real game, this sport requires attention while developing speed (physical and decision), and tactical sense.
There are today over 61 million members worldwide. The UCC Olympic Handball Club trains twice a week and bring together nearly thirty people on Tuesdays and Fridays. Add to that the additional training sessions for beginners and girls on weekends. There are 8 brave girls playing amongst the thirty players, because it is a sport played by all without discrimination. For sure, this club contains 10 different nationalities (Spanish, French, German, Irish, Italian, Slovenian, Czech, Swiss, Roumanian …)
The language barrier is not a problem, and even gives a unique aspect to this team led by Amelie Renaud. It’s impossible to not mention her and above all her involvement and her passion that she renders well in every training session.
In view of the 5 tournaments during this year, it is clear that the atmosphere in the team for both beginners and the already initiated is certainly based on success in the representation of our university but also on fun. Game tournaments and festivals gives way for athletic prowess but also for enriching encounters in both the relational and the athletically.
Thus, club members get together almost once a week to celebrate this sport around a drink or two… it depends on who it is. To illustrate these comments, I asked one of the players, Juliette Pailler, French student in law: “When we arrived in UCC as Erasmus students, everybody told us, to be integrated you have to join clubs and societies. And integration proved itself to be easy and really pleasant when you mix one of your passions with encounters and fun.
“At the end, you can wish to obtain the most important thing which the team spirit, during the game and out of it. Besides, i’m really glad to promote a neglected sport in this country while France reasserts its supremacy every year and waits for an outsider…”
For most of us, we are foreingners but it is also important to create a team which will consist of Irish people who will reiterated their participation over the years, so Irish students of UCC, the message is sent to you, do not hesitate, it’s time to begin Olympic Handball. Our first tournament will be on the 27th of November in Dublin and in Cork will be on the 11th of December in the Mardyke venue. The attempt is sure, to win in the new Irish league with six teams as before: Lughnasa (two teams), UCC (two teams), BlanchIT and UCD.
And of course remember this event as very important, The 22nd Men’s Handball World Championship from the 13th to 30th of January 2011. It raises two major issues. Will France confirm its supremacy? And above all, how far the Irish will go for their first world cup.
Originally published in the 23/11/2010 edition of the UCC Express