International event helps game

HOSTING an international handball tournament featuring Pacific Island countries can provide plenty of challenges.

As re-elected Oceania Continent president Paul Smith discovered first-hand, host officials need to allow for VISA issues and lack of travel and medical insurance from the developing nations.

Ipswich-based Smith said the problems offered lessons for the future after the recent International Handball Federation Oceania Challenge Trophy tournament held at the Redbank and Collingwood Park Sports Complex.

But while having to deal with some non-playing hassles, Smith said the review of the inaugural competition was positive.

“The overall feeling was it was a good tournament,” Smith said. “I was really happy with the way the games were played. That side of it was excellent.

“A number of the islanders show a huge amount of potential and ability for the sport.”

Australia and New Zealand were the standout countries with the Aussies winning last week’s final. But Smith said it was pleasing seeing Samoa, in particular, picking up the game quickly.

“I can see it going the same way as Rugby Sevens in the islands,” said Smith, who has been actively developing handball in recent years.

But he said the developing handball nations had to build junior bases and create competition to obtain future financial assistance.

Smith said the next major handball relevant for Ipswich schools would be a competition in March/April.

Ipswich-based club Western Saints are set to play.



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