Saturday 28 July – Sunday 12 August (Schedule)
Number of medal events:
One men’s and one women’s competition.
Number of competitors:
168 men and 168 women.
Twelve teams compete in both the men’s and women’s competitions, with 14 athletes (seven players and seven substitutes) on each team.
Each country is limited to one men’s and one women’s team.
They will make their international debut at a major tournament – and the women’s host team’s dream is to reach the Olympic quarter-finals. Therefore Jesper Holmris, the Danish coach of the British women’s team, has been making the most intensive preparations of all participants.
The team has been living in Greater London since August 2011 in order to reach the individual and tactical level of its competitors, who are much more experienced. When London was elected host of the Olympic Games the frequently quoted project ‘from zero to hero’ started. All over the world they were seeking female and male players of British origin looking for the Olympic dream – and Britain indeed found quite a lot of female players in Scandinavia. Additionally players in other sports who met special requirements were ‘cast’. With support coming from the Danish federation, the IHF and the EHF the players were trained at the sports academy in Aarhus, Denmark. Many of them played with the colours of Danish or Norwegian clubs afterwards too. And gradually they claimed some success: Slovakia was defeated as part of the WCh qualification.
During the Olympic Test Event in London they caused a sensation to overcome African champions Angola. The British side kept up well with Russia at least during the first half of the ECh qualification. Captain Lynn McCafferty and German-born Lyn Byl, who played for German record champion Bayer Leverkusen for many years, are the most famous players of the British team. London will prove whether or not the systematic preparations will pay off – and what is even more important: Could the project be successful after the Olympics too?
Head Coach: Jesper Holmris
Top Stars: Lynn McCafferty, Lyn Byl
Qualified for the London Olympic Games as Host Nation
They will be the big outsiders during the competition on home soil, but Great Britain will be aiming to cause a few upsets at the 2012 Olympics.
Since being formed in 2007 progress has been steady for the GB team, who secured a first competitive victory over Bulgaria in qualifying for Euro 2011. Other victories have come in friendly fixtures as part of their preparations across the world against Oman, Italy, Belgium and New Zealand, but the Olympics will take the team to a whole new level.
Like the GB women’s team, the squad was formed through a mixture of trials across Britain which saw many athletes transfer from other sports, but scouting missions across the world identified several more players with British passports. Most of them quit their studies or their jobs for the chance to compete under the five rings once in their lives. They moved to a sports academy in Aarhus, Denmark, where world class coaching helped them improve, but they were living in basic conditions, sacrificing money, family and luxuries to chase their dream of competing at the Olympics.
Funding problems meant the squad had to be split up across Europe, but for six of the best places were offered at TuSem Essen in the German Bundesliga where they received precious experience against some of the best players in the world.
Recently, Great Britain have competed against some tough opponents in qualifying for the 2013 World Championships in Spain, and although they lost it gave them yet more vital experience of the level they must reach to compete at the Olympics. Great Britain came close to a shock result against Korea in the Olympic Test Event, the Pinsent Masons’ London Handball Cup, but struggled to cope in their other matches in that Tournament against Turkey and Argentina. Nevertheless the British side will be the big outsiders in London – even more than the Chinese men’s team in Beijing. But the big dream of Head Coach Dragan Djukic and his team is to make handball more popular in Great Britain and to reach the quarter finals at the Olympics.
Head Coach: Dragan Djukic
Top Stars:Chris Mohr, Steven Larsson
Qualified for the London Games as Host Nation