Handball ready to shine at European Youth Olympic Festival 2022
The W17 and M17 handball competitions at the European Youth Olympic Festival 2022 will begin in Slovakia on Monday 25 July. Handball is one of 10 sports included in the programme at this year's event and has been part of the European Youth Olympic Festival since first appearing in 1995.
This year's European Youth Olympic Festival will take place in the city of Banská Bystrica and the surrounding region in Slovakia. The European Youth Olympic Festival is the biggest multi-sports event in Europe for athletes aged 14 to 18.
While Slovakia qualified for both handball competitions as the host nation, seven of the top eight teams from the M19 EHF EURO 2021 in Croatia and W17 EHF EURO 2021 in Montenegro will participate in eight-team tournaments for boys and girls born in 2005/2006.
Both competitions will feature two preliminary round groups of four teams, with the top two sides from each group progressing to the semi-finals on Friday 29 July. The finals and placement matches will take place on Saturday 30 July – the final day of the European Youth Olympic Festival 2022.
In 2019, at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Azerbaijan, Croatia claimed the M17 gold medal after defeating Germany 29:28 in the final. Croatia, who have been drawn in the same preliminary round group B as 2019 bronze medallists Denmark, will play their first match in the boys' competition against Iceland.
Meanwhile, in group A, 2019 silver medallists Germany will face Slovakia in their opening game. Slovenia, winners of the M17 event in 2013, will meet Portugal, whose most recent medal was a bronze in 1997.
France and the Netherlands, the gold and silver medallists in the girls' event in Azerbaijan, are not represented in the W17 competition – but 2019 bronze medallists Hungary will open the tournament in group A against hosts Slovakia. Record medal winners Denmark, who missed the podium three years ago, and 2017 silver medallists Romania complete the teams in group A.
Group B features two nations that previously made the podium in the girls' competition at the European Youth Olympic Festival: Norway and Germany. Croatia and Montenegro will join Norway and Germany in group B.
Preliminary round groups