Louise Jukes backing Ipswich handball revolution
London 2012 Olympian Louise Jukes has sacrificed her Scandinavian adventure to back the Ipswich handball revolution.
The Great Britain international spent more than four years competing in the high-profile Danish and Norwegian leagues but has retired to spend more time boosting the sport’s profile in the town.
Handball was delivered a huge blow last December when UK Sport pulled its £2.92m funding to Team GB’s men’s and women’s teams, ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, after both teams finished bottom of their groups at the 2012 London Games.
However, grassroots funding was doubled to £1.2m and, as head coach of the recently-formed Ipswich Handball Club, Jukes, pictured, wants to further expand the growing membership numbers at the Suffolk One College-based outfit.
“There is no more funding for the elite teams but there is to develop the youth game upwards,” said voluntary coach Jukes, who is visiting schools in the area to promote the sport and healthy living.
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“From a senior point of view, the improvement rate has been unbelievable at Ipswich, the standard is getting higher, and we will be entering men’s and ladies’ teams into their respective development leagues from September.
“But we also want to start a youth team and enter that side into a league. We currently have four young members and would need around 10 in all to make a team.
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“It’s important to show UK Sport what the elite clubs in the country can do and how the sport can create positive role models and, as a community club, we are looking for support from the local community, as well as Sport England and the Suffolk Foundation. We are the only handball club in Suffolk and we really hope we can continue our good work.”
Ipswich Handball Club hold sessions every Wednesday at Suffolk One from 6.15pm and will be having a stand at the Suffolk Show which begins tomorrow.