Perhaps not one of the most well-known Olympic sports, handball could prove to be one of the major hits of the Games.
Details of the London 2012 handball competition have been revealed and it starts with a close showdown in the women’s event. In a repeat of the 2011 World Championships final reigning Olympic champs Norway will take on the world number two team France.
It is the first time that GB has fielded a women’s squad at the Olympics and their opening match will be against fellow newcomers Montenegro on July 28th.
In the men’s competition, the firm favourites for the title, France, will play Team GB on July 29th.
International Handball Federation president Dr Hassan Moustafa said: “The promotion of handball has been tremendous in Great Britain since London was awarded as host of the 2012 Olympic Games in June 2005.
“We are proud to welcome the world of handball in London – and we are sure that we will see thrilling, brilliant matches with the best players of the world.”
Early rounds of the competition will be played at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park and the semi-finals and finals will be held at the Basketball Arena.
The medals in the men’s event will be decided on August 12th, while the women’s Olympic team winners will be revealed on August 11th.
Although handball is not a top sport in the UK, it was first introduced to the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 as an outdoor game. The indoor version of the sport debuted at Munich in 1972 and has been featured in every Games held since then.
The Olympics starts with an opening ceremony on July 27th and there are lots of events happening across the city that will appeal to those staying in Montcalm London hotels during the Games.