Young players are our Olympic legacy, says handball CEO

England Handball Cup finals
Venue: Derby Arena, Sun 12 Mar – BBC Sport website, app and connected TV
Men’s final: 13:55-16:00 BST – Warrington Wolves v CambridgeWomen’s final: 16:25-18:30 – NEM Hawks v West London Eagles

Handball in Britain is enjoying an upsurge of interest and participation among young people, Handball England chief executive David Meli says.

The sport’s funding was cut after the 2012 Olympics, but Meli says the Games acted as a handball advert for Britain.

“It will have been the first time people had seen the sport up close,” he told BBC Sport. “And that’s where our focus has been since 2012.”

The England Handball Cup finals will be shown on the BBC website on Sunday.

“It had been there for a number of years but had been under the radar,” Meli said.

“Over the past six years, our focus has been very much on getting young people playing the game because, long term, that’s where the sustainability of the game and participation would come from.”

Meli points to the national under-13 and under-15 schools competitions as an example of the grassroots growth in the game.

“Just prior to 2012 we had 25 teams in that. This year we’ll be close to, if not over, 1,600. So we know there are large numbers playing at the school level.


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