Handball is played on a cozy 40x20m court. Goals are scored by throwing the ball into the net or by ‘jumping’ in from outside the goalie’s six-foot crease. It is a fast-paced, full-contact sport that typically involves 20-35 goals per team each game.
‘Expulsim ludere’—expelled play—was a women’s sport in ancient Rome that is thought to be the precursor to modern handball. Handball was codified at the end of the 19th century in Denmark, and gained international recognition after it was played at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
If a tournament game is not decided in regulation, there are a maximum of two overtime periods, clocking in at five minutes each. Should the game still be tied after overtime, the winning team is determined in a penalty shootout, with opposing teams shooting at each others’ nets from the seven-metre mark.
Each team consists of seven players on the court and seven substitute players on the bench. Similar to those in hockey, substitutions can involve any number of players and can come at any time during game play.
Resin is used to provide the players with a better grip on the ball. Though this is not officially allowed in the rules and regulations, players often apply resin to the outsides of their shoes in order to readily access it during game time to put a little extra spin on their trick shots.
The 24th IHF (International Handball Federation) World Championships were held in Qatar. The host nation went on a historic run to the final before losing to the French. The French men’s national team also won an Olympic gold medal in London in 2012. Despite recent French dominance, Sweden holds the most IHF World Championship medals, with a total of 11.
Canada has made only three appearances at the IHF World Championships, the most recent of which came in 2005. The sport remains unpopular among Canadians and the national team has struggled to improve over the years. Team Canada’s best result came in the 1978 World Championship, when it placed 15th out of the 16 teams that qualified.
Salaries in handball have risen significantly in the past few years, with the top five earners making 11 million euros per year. Hans Lindberg makes the most at 11.1 million playing for HSV Hamburg, while Domagoj Duvnjak holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee when, at the age of 21, he was sent to HSV Hamburg for 2.25 million euros.
According to IHF rules, to gain eligibility for a new national team a player cannot have played for another nation for three years in an official match. A large number of European stars had been naturalized just before the last World Champions, and only four of the 17 players on the squad were Qatari natives.
Slovenian Dragan Gajic holds the IHF World Record for most goals scored in a single tournament with 71 in the 2015 World Championship. The record for the most fouls belongs to Croatia’s Igor Vori, who managed to rack up over 25 penalty minutes in just eight games.
(Photos courtesy of bbc.co.uk; nmcollegeumang.org; ihf.info)