Four team competition begins boosting Tokyo 2020 Dream

CANBERRA will play host to the first round of the inaugural Handball League Australia as the local team handball turns its focus to Tokyo 2020 just weeks after the Rio Olympics closed.

The league wants to showcase the high octane sport to the nation, with a mix of Australian National Team stars and overseas journeyman spreading across the Sydney University Handball Club, St Kilda Handball Club, Brisbane Wolves and University of Technology Sydney/University of Canberra sides.

One of Australia’s brightest prospects will return to Australian shores to play part in the first-ever Handball League Australia, with Brisbane’s Caleb Gahan returning from Spain to compete.

“It has been amazing for my personal development to play in Spain – the same country who won the 2013 World Cup,” Gahan said on his arrival after travelling overseas to enhance his skill.

“But with the Handball League Australia kicking off in 2016, it was the right time for me to come back and be part of the rapid development handball is making at home.

“An elite League is a key piece in the puzzle to lure Australian players back from overseas, so we can build a strong national team in our quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“This is just the start of our dream, a dream we are realistically chasing with the Handball League Australia.”

The opening match of the tournament will see the UTS/UC Hawks take on Sydney Uni HC at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra on September 2.

Handball, or European handball to most Australians, has been an integral part of the school system for many years.

A small but dedicated community has seen Australia represented at multiple world cups, Olympic qualifiers and even the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Each year, National competitions and junior competitions are held across the country, with more than 300 dedicated players and officials paying their own way for competitions.