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PH handball team eyes more tournaments next year

 

Mark Vincent Dubouzet of the Philippines tries to score against Indonesia during their match in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Weihai, China. (Photos courtesy of Asian Handball Federation)

Mark Vincent Dubouzet of the Philippines tries to score against Indonesia during their match in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Weihai, China. (Photos courtesy of Asian Handball Federation)

By WAYLON GALVEZ

Following a podium finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine handball team is looking at various tournaments next year to further develop the skills of players for international competitions.

Jana Franquelli, the national team coach, said the successful campaign of the beach handball team in the SEA Games where they won the bronze medal, only proved Filipinos have what it takes to compete even if the sport is relatively new to the country.

“We have to take advantage of what we achieved and continue with the development of the players, not only in beach handball but also in indoor handball – both men’s and women’s competitions,” said Franquelli, who helped in the introduction of handball in the country in 2012.

Since only the men’s beach handball was approved in the previous SEA Games, resources and focus was on the team as it prepared in the country’s hosting of the biennial meet.

The national handball team posses for a photo opportunity prior to its game against Chinese Taipei in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Weihai, China. (Courtesy of PH handball coach Jana Franquelli)

The national handball team posses for a photo opportunity prior to its game against Chinese Taipei in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Weihai, China. (Courtesy of PH handball coach Jana Franquelli)

But now that the regional event is over, Franquelli said that she would propose to the Philippine Handball Federation Inc. under its president Steve Hontiveros a new program for the next two years.

“We want to resume training of our athletes – men’s and women’s indoor – and women’s handball team because there are various competitions this year that we want to join,” she said.

One of the tournaments is the 2020 Asian Beach Games set Nov. 28 to Dec. 5 in Senya, China. Franquelli said that the men’s team that saw action in the SEA Games will compete in this event, while the women’s team would be formed once the PHF approves the proposal.

The main focus of the national team is the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“During our discussions with our Vietnam counterparts, handball will surely be included in the calendar of events and because they are strong in this sports – they got the gold medal in the SEA Games – it’s possible that handball may have four events in 2021,” Franquelli said.

All sports disciplines in the biennial meet are up for approval by the SEA Games Federation, but if Vietnam is successful in lobbying for it, the four handball events in 2021 are men’s and women’s indoor and beach competitions.

Mac Valdez of the Philippines tries to block the shot of one of Qatar's players during their elimination round game in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Weihai, China. (Photos courtesy of Asian Handball Federation)

Mac Valdez of the Philippines tries to block the shot of one of Qatar’s players during their elimination round game in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Weihai, China. (Photos courtesy of Asian Handball Federation)

Franquelli said that if the national team starts training as early as January, the Philippines should be a solid bet for podium finishes in all four events – just like in the previous SEA Games.

“Remember that both Vietnam and Thailand started handball in 1998, pero tayo back in 2012 introduction pa lang sa atin. In 2018 the challenge for us was forming the beach handball team nung nalaman na natin kasama sa SEA Games here,” said Franquelli.

“This year, before the SEA Games, isa lang ang talagang naging international exposure natin, Asian Beach Handball Championship. Pero nagawa nating mag-bronze medal (out of five countries).”

“So kaya talaga nating mga Pilipino. Kaya kung gusto nating mas may laban, we should start training by January 2020. Then hopefully, we’ll be given the necessary international exposure this year an next year,” she added.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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