Women’s handball team set for test event outing

GREAT BRITAIN’S fledgling women handball team - only a couple of years old - will test out the brand-new, purpose built Handball Arena, at the Olympic Park, tomorrow.

The team, including Ipswich’s Louise Jukes, will compete in the London Handball Cup - the official test event for next year’s Olympic Games.

China, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Angola will also be taking part and showing off their skills in the 7000-seater arena which was completed in June of this year following three-and-a-half years of planning and construction.

The team was formed after five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave made an appeal in 2007 for people to try out in some of the minority sports and many of the players have racked up huge personal debt after funding was significantly cut in 2008.

Britain, who are based at Crystal Palace, will face Austria and Angola in Group B, with the African side preparing for next month’s World Championships in Brazil and the Austrians harbouring an unbeaten record against the hosts, who are hopeful of making the semi-final.

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“We have played Austria three times now and lost all three and both teams know each other well now,” captain Lynn McCafferty said.

“The last two times we played it was close for us and we will push to be very competitive.

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“With Angola you never know as we have never played each other.

“The tournament is our home tournament and we always fight really well at home and we will do the same this tournament. We aim to make the semi-finals.

“It is extremely important for us to put in a good performance and use the tournament as part of our development.

“These games are important for our development and the experience will be something we can put in our back pocket and relate to in the future.”

Slovakia and China in Group A get the inaugural tournament under way tomorrow morning before GB take to the court for their Group B opener with Angola in the afternoon.

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