Women's Trophy throws off in GeorgiaArticle
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Eight developing handball nations fight for the title in the 2016 edition of the IHF/EHF Women's Trophy from 8 to 13 March in Tbilisi, Georgia

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Women's trophy throws off in Georgia

The ninth edition of the IHF/EHF Women's Trophy will take place in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi from 8 to 13 March, featuring the teams of Cyprus, Latvia, Georgia, Albania, Faroe Islands, Belgium, Estonia and Armenia.

The tournament is designed to further develop handball, especially in emerging nations and to improve the presence of the sport in general, while at the same time ensuring the highest competition challenge for the participating nations and good infrastructure for all parties involved.

Two years ago at the eighth Trophy in Larissa, Greece, Bulgaria topped the podium ahead of Israel and the Greek hosts, and the fact that just about a year later Bulgaria won the first qualification phase for the Women's EHF EURO 2016 shows the Trophy's significance for the development of handball.

In Tbilisi, Cyprus, Latvia, Georgia and Albania are seeded in Group A, while Faroe Islands, Belgium, Estonia and Armenia make up Group B.

The first two teams of each group qualify for the semi-finals which will be played on 12 March, followed by the finals one day later.

The Georgian Handball Federation has set up a dedicated event website that offers news, photos and videos throughout this week and all matches will be streamed on the federation's Youtube channel.

Hosts Georgia return to the competition for the first time since their last appearance in 2006, when they made it to the semi-finals in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Belgium was the scene for the first edition of the Trophy in 2000; their national team is back for the fifth time. The teams from Estonia and Faroe Islands have the most competition experience in this category, as they take to the court for their sixth outing respectively.

With the focus of the event on the development of the persons involved, five referee couples aiming gain invaluable experience have been nominated from the Young Referees Programme to officiate the matches.

TEXT: EHF / ts