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Handball: Five issues to find out about one in every of France’s hottest sports activities

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Here are 5 issues it’s essential know earlier than strapping your self in to observe the hotly-tipped French groups on the Tokyo Olympics.

1. It’s probably the most fashionable sports activities in France

Everybody who’s a part of a sports activities membership in France will need to have a licence (allow), which makes it comparatively straightforward to match the variety of folks formally collaborating in several sports activities utilizing government data.

In 2019, round 492,000 folks belonged to a handball membership. That made it the sixth most practiced sport in France, behind soccer, tennis, horse-riding, judo and basketball. It was much more fashionable than rugby (326,000 licences).

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2. The guidelines are pretty easy

Part of this recognition might stem from the truth that handball is a comparatively straightforward sport to familiarize yourself with. Two thirty-minute halves are performed between two groups of seven gamers.

Once you may have acquired the ball, you’re allowed to take as much as three steps, and maintain onto the ball for 3 seconds, earlier than having to go it to a teammate.

You rating by throwing the ball into the online. You can shoot from outdoors the 6-metre zone which surrounds every objective, or you’ll be able to leap into this objective space, however in that case it’s a must to launch the ball earlier than touching the bottom.

You are allowed to the touch the ball with any a part of your physique from the knee up, though this restriction doesn’t apply to goalkeepers.

3. It’s a fast-paced sport

The guidelines of handball imply that the sport is performed at a really quick tempo. Not solely do it’s a must to launch the ball after three seconds, however “passive play” can be banned, which means a group shouldn’t be allowed to easily throw the ball amongst themselves to run down the clock with no intention of scoring.

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It’s additionally a high-scoring sport – France beat Brazil 34-29 on Monday – making it straightforward for rookies to change into engrossed even earlier than understanding all the intricacies of the sport.

4. The Europeans dominate

Handball has its origins in northern Europe earlier than spreading to the remainder of the continent. According to the Olympics web site, “Handball was created and developed in Denmark, Sweden and Germany in the late 19th century”.

And that historical past is mirrored within the medal tables: the Republic of Korea is the one non-European nation to win a medal with the boys’s group, taking silver in 1988. The Korean girls’s group, nonetheless, has received six medals, together with two golds, since girls had been first in a position to compete on the 1976 Olympics.

The United States has competed a number of instances prior to now, however has not despatched a males’s or girls’s group to the Olympics since 1996.

5. France is a powerhouse

Since indoor handball was launched on the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, no nation has been extra profitable within the males’s sport than France. The French males took gold in 2008 and 2012, silver in Rio in 2016, and bronze in 1992.

France additionally received 4 out of 5 World Men’s Handball Championships held between 2009 and 2017.

The girls’s group has additionally tasted success, changing into world champions in 2017, and taking the silver medal within the 2016 Olympics.

Both French groups will due to this fact be hoping to make all of it the way in which in Tokyo.

The French girls’s group will come up in opposition to Spain at 2:30 pm French time on Tuesday, July twenty seventh, after defeating Hungary of their opening sport. The males’s group will face Germany of their subsequent match at 2:30 pm on Wednesday.

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