Suffolk: Olympic star Louise Jukes to help relaunch handball in Ipswich after 30-year absence
IPSWICH: Ipswich Handball will relaunch next month after a 30-year absence – with an Olympic-themed taster session at Suffolk One.
The new community club is set to become the only handball club in Suffolk, with people of all ages and abilities encouraged to try the fast-growing sport on Monday, January 23 from 6.15 to 8.15pm.
Organisers are hopeful of a successful relaunch after the London Games validated the sport of handball in the eyes of the public.
David Hendrick, handball activator for England Handball, said: “The London Olympics opened the eyes of the British public to the fun, fast-paced and high-scoring sport.
“It was one of the successes of the Olympics. A lot of people were talking about it during and after the Games.
“Ipswich used to have a handball club in the late 1970s and early 1980s, so it’s great to have one back again.
“I hope a lot of people from Ipswich and Suffolk come down to try it out.”
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London 2012 Team GB handball star Louise Jukes, a former Holbrook High School pupil, will be flying in from Denmark – where she plays competitively – to give a Q&A session about her history-making Olympics.
Winners of a Skillshot game, where newcomers will test their power by hurling balls into a goal, will receive handballs signed by the Olympic star.
Handball is one of the fastest-growing sports in Great Britain and Suffolk was identified as an “emerging county” by England Handball earlier this year. Suffolk One is the only centre in the county with a dedicated handball pitch with goals, equipment and correct scoring sections.
Ben Jackson, Sports Development Office at Suffolk Sport, said: “We want to develop handball across the county and make Ipswich the centre-point for handball in Suffolk.
“This is the biggest launch of handball we have had in the Ipswich area for a long time.
“The main aim is to create a social community club where people of all ages and abilities can come down and try out handball.
“It’s a great sport and we will hopefully be gearing up to create a long-term competitive team for both genders to enter the national leagues. I hope there will be a lot of interest from around Ipswich and Suffolk.”
An Ipswich Select v Essex Blades exhibition match will also take place.
The rebirth of Ipswich Handball has been the work of ITFC Charitable Trust, Suffolk One, England Handball and Suffolk Sport, as part of Sport England’s Sportivate Olympic legacy.
Training sessions every Wednesday, 6:15pm-7:15pm, will continue for another five weeks.
Newcomers can also sign up on the day to become full-time members. Contact Dave Hendrick on 07990 744 717 for further information.
n Are you a handball enthusiast? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org