DOHA- The draw for the preliminary group rounds of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship was held in Doha on Sunday night, 20 July, with the stage set for an exciting contest in 2015.
Senior government representatives of the State of Qatar attended the event, as well as executives from the International Handball Federation, the Qatar Handball Association, representatives of all 24 participating teams and international media.
Reflecting the importance of engaging young people in the fast-paced competition, six representatives of the next generation –Saeed, Hamza, Mohamed, Osman, Abdulrahman and Taher–assisted Leon Kalin, the Chairman of the IHF Commission of Organising and Competitions, as he made the draw.
In his opening speech and thanking the State of Qatar, IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa said: “I am sure that this will be the best Handball World Championship ever.”
Dr. Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, Director General, Qatar 2015 Organising Committee, said: “We know what hosting this prestigious event means for both our nation and for the sport of handball. Qatar is eager to showcase our enthusiasm for this sport to the world, and demonstrate our professionalism in organising large-scale sports events. Qatar 2015 will be an important milestone in the development of handball locally, regionally and internationally.”
Host nation Qatar, which had the right to choose their preliminary round group, selected Group A. The decision was announced by national team head coach Valero Rivera when the rest of the “pots” had been drawn.
Qatar will face Brazil, Chile, Slovenia, Belarus, and Spain in the preliminary group stages, hoping to achieve their best-ever result while playing on their home ground.
Coach Valero Rivera said: “This is the most challenging World Championship ever. All groups are very competitive and it was a hard choice for us. Finally, we decided to pick Group A, because it is our dream to proceed to the next round, and we see this as the best route for us.”
The results of the draw are:
Group A: Spain, Slovenia, Qatar, Belarus, Brazil, Chile
Group B: Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Austria, Tunisia, Iran
Group C: France, Sweden, Algeria, Czech Republic, Egypt, United Arab Emirates
Group D: Denmark, Poland, Russia, Argentina, Bahrain, Germany
The four best-ranked teams from the four groups will qualify for the next stage, while the remaining eight teams will fight for positions 17-24 in the President’s Cup.
Qatar 2015 will be the first Men’s World Championship to take place in one city, Doha, reducing travelling time for players and officials, and enabling sports fans to attend multiple games.
Selected venues for the World Championship are the Qatar Handball Association Complex Hall, Al-Sadd Sports Hall, Lusail Multipurpose Arena and a new temporary handball arena in the Aspire Dome.