Beach Handball ante portas in the Olympic Games
Beach Handball first appeared in Italy in 1990.
In 1994 it was adopted by the International Handball Federation (IHF) and the following year by the European Handball Federation (EHF). The first European Championship was hosted in Italy in 2000 with Belarus and Ukraine winning the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively.
The first Beach Handball World Championship was held in Egypt in 2004 with the host country winning the men’s competition and Russia winning the women’s. Leading forces in the sport include Brazil (men’s world title winners and 14 medals in total), Croatia and Russia (both have 11 medals in European Men’s Championships), Denmark, Hungary and Greece, winners of the gold medal at the 2018 World Championship in Kazan.
Greek teams have also won two European Championships and five other medals in the European Championships at club level.
At the European Championships held in Poland last June, Denmark won both the men’s and women’s gold medals.
A turning point in the history of the sport is its inclusion in the “Olympic Family”, and in particular the Youth Olympic Games that took place in Buenos Aires in 2018, with Spain winning the boys’ and Argentina the girls’ competitions, respectively.
At this event, Beach Handball exceeded all expectations by attracting more spectators than expected, thus expanding its horizons.
The spectacular rise of Beach Handball in Buenos Aires was its “passport” to the Tokyo Olympics (2020), where it will be presented as a demonstration sport, with the prospect of joining the official program in 2024 in Paris.