Hungary and Croatia reign supreme on the Italian sand

The newly-extended EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup has finished in Catania, Sicily in Italy with Detono Zagreb and Multichem-Szentendrei N.K.E. winning the men’s and women’s competition earlier today respectively.

Men’s Competition

32 teams, more than ever before, competed in 48 games in each gender from 1 to 4 November and it was the strong Croatian side, featuring a number of internationals, including captain Ivan Juric, who defeated title-holders Ekaterinodar Krasnodar 2:0 (19:18, 24:16) with Tiago Torgal scoring 10 points and Josip Matezovic (9) for the new champions. The first set had ended close, but with Zagreb always in front, while in the second period the Russian side found themselves 8:2 down early on and could not find a way back.

In the bronze medal match OFKSE-LINMAR from Hungary beat German side BC Sand Devils Minden 2:1 (23:16, 18:27, SO 12:10) in a shoot-out after it went to a second round and Sebastian Zeyen missed his must-score shot after the video replay showed it did not cross the line.

Women’s Competition

The women’s competition saw the strong Hungarian team come from behind to beat GRC from Portugal 2:1 (16:21, 22:6. SO 6:2) on a shoot-out after they stormed the second period following their first period loss. But they did not win in the best circumstances after the tournament’s best goalkeeper Agnes Kokai had saved the Portuguese’s first shot, the women’s top scorer Rita Alves then dropped the ball on her shot to hand the title to the Hungarians who saw a player of the match performance from Renata Csiki, who scored 16 points.

In the bronze medal match, Norwegian side Aker Topphandball defeated 2017 champions C.BM Playa Algeciras 2:0 (23:20, 26:14) thanks to 18 points from Katinka Haltvik and 13 from Marielle Martinsen.

Closing ceremony, saying goodbye

Before Ole Jorstad, Chairman of the EHF Beach Handball Commission, officially closed the tournament, ahead of the award ceremony he called for a ‘guard of honour’ from the EHF officials and delegates on the sand for Peter Fröschl, the long-serving EHF office responsible for beach handball, methods and ‘Education and Development’, who is retiring in December.

The EHF Champions Cup week also featured several educational courses for beach handball coaches featuring a variety of topics including the newest insights into goalkeeping, conditioning, coaching, scouting and more.