By Jones Bamidele
Abuja – Africa will not be represented in the beach handball that will make its Olympic debut at the third Summer Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires 2018, Argentina in October.
The draw ceremony for the event took place on Saturday at the Argentine Olympic Committee (AOC) headquarters to determine the group’s placement.
The Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, in a statement on Saturday, said the event would feature 12 women and 12 men’s teams.
Men’s Group A will feature Spain, Venezuela, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Uruguay and Hungary while Group B comprises Italy, Argentina, Portugal, Paraguay, Mauritius and Croatia.
Also to compete for honours in the Women’s Group A are Hungary, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, American Samoa, Mauritius and Russia while Group B has the Netherlands, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay, Hong Kong and Turkey.
The draw was attended by officials from the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, the International Handball Federation (IHF), as well as representatives from the two local teams that will take part in the first Olympic competition in history to have gender equality.
The release further stated that the handball was getting ready for its first Olympic appearance as a replacement for the indoor version of the sport which was included at Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014.
Mario Moccia, secretary general of the AOC and director of sports and venues for the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee said that he was very happy to have the beach handball draw at the home of the Argentine Olympic Movement.
“I think this version of the sport will be very successful in the Olympic world and the fact that it’ll be making its debut at Buenos Aires 2018 is something historic,” he said.
The men’s and women’s competitions will begin on Oct. 8, with a preliminary round of two groups of six teams each.
The best three teams of each group will advance to the final phase, carrying over the points obtained against the rivals that also make it to the next phase and will only play against the teams from the other group.
The top four teams in the decisive phase will face each other to determine which National Olympic Committees will compete for the gold medal and which will battle for the bronze.
The finals will hold on Oct. 13.