Handball

Handball

images of Handball

Olympic Sports

Handball

Handball is an action-packed team sport played on the largest court of any Olympic indoor ball game.

Overview

Teams of seven players pass and dribble a ball up the court to throw the ball into the opposition's goal, which happens often: spectators might see 60 goals or more in a single match.

Handball was created and developed in Denmark, Sweden and Germany in the late 19th century. Originally played outdoors as field handball, the sport first appeared at the Berlin 1936 Games. The modern indoor version made its Olympic debut at Munich 1972. The first women's competition was held at the Montreal 1976 Games. Handball has featured at every Olympic Games since. The International Handball Federation (IHF), founded in 1946, is the administrative and governing body of handball and beach handball. The IHF has 209 member federations.

Twelve teams will compete in both the men's and women's competitions at Tokyo 2020. Teams will begin in a group phase with the top eight nations progressing into the knockout phase of the tournament.

International Federation: International Handball Federation (IHF)(Open in a new window)

Event Programme

  • 12-team tournament (Men/Women)

ESSENCE OF THE SPORT

Teamwork the key to success

Handball Players

Handball is played on a 40x20m court with 3x2m goals at each end, surrounded by a D-shaped area called the goal area. The goal area is 6 metres from the goal and only the goalkeeper can enter. However, players may jump into this area when attempting a shot but must release the ball before landing. The outer D, defined by a dotted line at a distance of 9 metres from the goal is the free-throw line.

Matches consist of two 30-minute halves. If teams are tied at the end of regular time in the knockout phase, the match goes into overtime. If there is still now winner after two overtime periods, each consisting of two five-minute halves, there will be a penalty shoot-out. The winner is the team with the most goals.

Court players can only hold the ball for a maximum of three seconds and take a maximum of three steps while holding it. Goalkeepers can touch the ball with any part of their body while in the goal area and are not restricted by the three-second/three-steps rule. Watch for goalkeepers leaving their goal area when not in possession of the ball and taking part in the game as any other court player - or watch them even sprint off the court as they clear the way for a seventh field player to enter, leaving the goal empty.

Handball permits body contact between offensive and defensive players. Contact from the front of the body is not considered a violation of the rules. Referees may choose not to stop the game as a result of a foul allowing play to flow more freely. However, they may choose to stop an attack if the team is too passive. When a tendency to passive play is recognised, the forewarning signal is shown and if the way of attacking does not change afterwards, the team has a maximum of six passes to complete the attack.

Players have different positions and roles on the court. Positions include back-court players, wing players and a goalkeeper. As well as strength, stamina and excellent ball skills, strong teamwork and tactics are vital. All players must be skilled in both defence and attack.

OUTLOOK FOR THE TOKYO 2020 GAMES

Challenging Europe's dominance

Handball Players

The only non-European country to win a medal in men's handball is Republic of Korea, who took silver at the Seoul 1988 Games. That country has, however, been a perennial contender in the women's competition, winning six medals including gold at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992.

At the Rio 2016 Games, Denmark, France and Germany won the gold, silver and bronze medals in the men's competition. In the women's tournament, Russia, France and Norway won the gold, silver and bronze medals.

As handball continues to grow in popularity around the world, men's and women's teams from Africa, South America and the Middle East will also contend for medals - together, of course, with host nation Japan.

TRIVIA

Question

The men's ball measures 58-60cm in circumference, while the women's measures 54-56cm. How do Olympic Handball players grip the ball with one hand?

Answer

A:They apply a special pine resin, formulated specifically for handball, to their hands in order to increase adhesion.

As of 1 Dec. 2018

Competition Venues

  • Yoyogi National Stadium

Olympic Sports

Paralympic Sports