GAA Handball Ireland have been one of the driving forces behind the launch of a new unified International Federation committed to the development and promotion of the sport of handball worldwide. Following two years of ongoing talks and negotiations involving the key players in the process – GAA Handball, The World Handball Council and the CIJB, a final week of talks have ended in an historic signing of a new constitution and completion of an International Strategy for Handball.
This is unquestionably a very exciting era for the sport of handball not just in Ireland but also around the world. When considering that in 2009, when Ireland travelled and won an amazing 35 world handball titles in Portland, Oregon, there were a total of 15 affiliated countries competing in the event. Less than three years later and there are now more than double the number of countries affiliated, emphasising why it is being labelled as one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
“Handball originated in Ireland and it is significant that GAA Handball have provided tremendous leadership in it’s rebirth now with the launch of this new International federation. The World Handball Council is fully committed to this very exciting initiative and it will no doubt pave the way for even greater growth in the years ahead. The World Championships in October 2012 will no doubt highlight all the great work going on and is very exciting for every handballer the world over”, said World Handball Council President, Pat Brennan (Canada).
Through the synergy now created with the CIJB (a major organisation with national federations in Europe and South America), One Wall Handball will now see 33 countries affiliated for competing in the 2012 World Handball Championships in Ireland this coming October.
“The many teams, players and officials in CIJB affiliated countries are relishing what should be the new birth of Handball in the place where it began, in Ireland, and go on from here to become one of the most rapidly growing and exciting sports in the world in the years ahead” commented Jose Luis Lopez, President CIJB, Spain
The ultimate goal highlighted in the new federation strategy, to be named the World Wall Ball Association, will be to register an official International Strategy and Submission to the International Olympic Council for inclusion in the most famous of World Games. Part of this will come through an official launch of the final strategy and Brand in London in May 2012 with Handball already confirmed to be a demonstration Sport in the World Games in Cali, Columbia, in October 2013.
GAA Handball Ireland Chief Executive, Chris Curran, sees this as another huge step for the sport worldwide, “This process has been ongoing for two years and has required the full input of many key people from a host of countries and organisations around the world. It is in the unification of the many National Federations and through the leadership provided by the three founding Associations, GAAHandball, CIJB and World Handball Council, that handball can now seriously look at major international recognition for our games. The fact that the new Association will be based in Dublin is also another positive for GAA Handball and we will ensure that strategy now created for the continued growth of the sport world-wide, is fully implemented.”
Of course, prior to that there will be the hugely exciting build-up to the 2012 World Handball Championships in Ireland which will see an innovative and ambitious plan to erect a purpose built 23 court arena in the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin. This will play host to 2,000 competitors from 33 countries as 1000s will converge for what will be the most historic and high profile International Handball event in history.
“As an association, the fact we are hosting the World Championships in 2012 as the creation of this new Federation is taking place, is very exciting. There is no doubt that the thousands of players and spectators who will be present in Dublin in October will be expecting an amazing spectacle. We can guarantee that will be delivered with the quality of handball on show from the very best players in the World set to be the highlight of this eagerly anticipated event. There will be many announcements in the months ahead that will excite everyone planning to make this very worthwhile journey.”
Full details of that event, including the many promotional aspects surrounding it, will be launched in April 2012 in association with the Championship sponsors. Check out www.gaahandball.ie or www.worldhandball2012.com for further details.