The next handball generation is ready to step into the spotlightArticle
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PREVIEW: The 2016 edition of the Women's 18 European Open takes place in Gothenburg from 4 to 8 July

The next handball generation is ready to step into the spotlight

18 teams participate in the Women's 18 European Open which will take place in Gothenburg from 4 to 8 July. It is the 12th time the event is staged and the 6th edition of the women's event.

"In 2005, the European Handball Federation added the European Open to the repertoire of Younger Age Category competitions to provide another opportunity for men’s and women’s youth national teams to gain more experience on the international stage," says EHF President Jean Brihault.

"Many years later, we are very pleased to witness the ongoing resounding success of this event. The competition continues to serve its purpose as the players ‘graduate’ from the Open to be seen a year later at the next YAC European Championship. Now, as an opener to the 2016 summer of handball, the next generation is ready to step into the spotlight."

Denmark can be regarded as one of the favourites. The team won the Women's 17 EHF EURO last year in FYR Macedonia. Also among the contenders will be Russia and Hungary, the teams that came second and third at the Women's 17 EHF EURO 2015.

Two years ago Russia won the 2014 European Open, Denmark came second and Norway third.

The participating nations have been drawn to two groups of four teams each and two groups of five teams each. The first two ranked teams of each group qualify for the two main round groups from which the semi-finalists and eventually the finalists will be determined.

The final placement matches as well as the match for third place and the final itself will take place in front of up to 6,000 spectators at Gothenburg's Scandinavium.

12 pairs of referees from the EHF's Young Referees Programme have been selected to officiate the matches.

"The Younger Age Category national team events remain the best platform to showcase the development of the young up‐and‐coming players, as well as providing a stage for the trainees from the Young Referee Programme," says Brihault.

TEXT: EHF / ts