People across Manchester are being encouraged to try handball – one of the country’s fastest-growing indoor sports – as part of a new campaign being spearheaded by England Handball.
The #ReclaimTheCourt campaign has been launched with the intention of boosting awareness and participation in handball, coinciding with lockdown restrictions easing in England.
It’s been more than one full year since all indoor sport was paused due to COVID-19, which forced registered handball clubs across England – including local clubs Manchester University, Manchester Handball Club and NEM Hawks – to stop training and all competitive games indefinitely.
Before the pandemic, handball was one of the fastest-growing indoor sports in the country, with its popularity in schools as part of the curriculum helping to drive high levels of interest and participation.
The game is hugely popular throughout Europe and the rest of the world, with millions of players and global competitions. Handball is also an Olympic sport and teams from around the world will compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.
John Pearce, who represented Team GB in handball at London 2012 and is the national competitions and events manager at England Handball, said: “Our #ReclaimTheCourt campaign is about connecting more people with handball than ever before and getting back the momentum we’d built up before COVID-19.
“Lockdown has meant lots of people across the country haven’t had the chance to play any kind of sport, so we’re encouraging them to step onto a handball court – whether it’s for the first time or the 500th – and get involved in a sport that is fast-paced, high-scoring and exciting to be involved in.
“Playing handball is also a brilliant way to stay active with the physical and mental benefits that sport can offer. Handball is a hugely diverse sport too with men, women and children all playing, and in England we have players from more than 55 different countries registered at clubs up and down the country.”
In line with the Government’s roadmap, the green light was given to outdoor training for all ages on March 29th. Players under the age of 18 were permitted to return to indoor training and competition on April 12th, and those rules will be extended to all ages from May 17th.
“Lockdown has been really tough for everybody and across the world of sport, I think people are desperate to get back playing the games they love.
“For the handball community, we’re counting down the days until May 17th and keeping everything crossed that the government’s roadmap stays on track.
“It will be an emotional day when we get back onto the court and through #ReclaimTheCourt, we’re celebrating the journey and aiming to bring as many people with us as possible.”
To find out more about handball in England and the range of clubs available throughout the country, visit https://www.englandhandball.com/