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History of Beach Handball

Handball recently started to master beach spaces – in the 90s of the 20th century. Real development of this game began in between millenniums. Beach handball history traces its roots from small island at the South of Italy – Ponza (Italian: Isola Di Ponza). In June 1992 Gianni Buttarelli and Franco Schiano, presidents of Italian handball teams, suggested the idea of creating a new kind of handball – beach handball.  In 2000 took place the first forum on a historical scale for this kind of sport – European Championship, where Ukraine was represented as well. Women’s team won the gold medal, men’s team – bronze. At the World Games in 2001 Ukrainian Women’s Beach Handball Team was at the top again. Since then Championships of the World and Europe, a lot of international competitions, in which Ukrainian national teams took part, are held on a regular basis.  

1992: First Tournament

The First Beach Handball Tournament was held at San Antonio beach on Ponza Island (Italy) in July 1992. In competitions took part Italian teams – Gaeta 84 Contax, Ciampino, Roma Populinier, Lazio Sequax and Russian team – Polyot from Chelyabinsk.  

First Tournament in 1992

1992: Foundation of the Beach Handball Organizing Committee (Italian: COHB - Comitato Organizzatore Handball Beach)

That same year, Buttarelli and Schiano established the Beach Handball Organizing Committee. It was the first association on the planet, which represented the new kind of sport.

Foundation of the COHB in 1992

1993: First International Tournament

Under the supervision of Gianni Buttarelli the first official International Tournament took place in Rome. To the Eternal City came junior national teams of Algeria and Taiwan, youth team from Russia, Military national team of Italy and junior team composition of German TSV Bartenbach club.

First International Tournament in 1993

1994: Recognition by IHF (International Handball Federation)

In May 1994 beach handball was officially recognized by International Handball Federation and taken under its patronage. In September at IHF Congress in Netherlands international rules of this game were approved. Beach Handball was achieving new followers thanks to exhibition matches and video materials, distributed to congress participants. Within a short period of time beach handball became popular in South America and Africa.  

2000: First European Championship

In July 2000 under the supervision of EHF (European Handball Federation) the first Continental Championship was held. Competitions were hosted by resort town Gaeta on the sore of Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy. In the First European Championships participated eight men’s teams (Belarus, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey) and eight women’s teams (Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Spain). The first-ever champions of the European Beach Handball Championships became Belarus Men’s National Team and Ukraine Women’s National Team. Ukraine Men’s National Team got bronze medal in Gaeta. After that six European Championships were held (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011).

Italy 2000 18

2001: World Games

Tournament, which was also called as unofficial Beach Handball World Championship, was held in August 2001 in Akita (Japan). Teams from Asia, America, Africa and Europe took part in this competition. Europe was represented by gold and silver medals holders from Gaeta-2000, they played against each other in the final for a top prize. European champions won the tournament – Ukraine National Women’s Team and Belarus National Men’s Team.

World games are held every four years and here compete representatives of non-Olympic sports. Beach handball was played at World games in 2001 (Akita, Japan), 2005 (Duisburg, Germany) and 2009 (Kaohsiung, Taiwan). All three times beach handball appeared as a demonstration sport, but in 2013 in Columbia it will be already listed in the official competition program.

Japan 2001 16

2003: Foundation of the European Beach Handball Tour under the supervision of EHF

For beach handball development and promotion EHF organized European Beach Handball Tour, which got together number of beach handball competitions in different countries of the continent.  

2004: First World Championship  

First official Beach Handball World Championship was held on the African continent – in 2004 best beach handball players were welcomed by Egypt. Second championship was hosted by Brazil in 2006, third was held in 2008 in Spain and the fourth one in 2011 in Turkey.

2008: First Younger Age Category Beach Handball European Championship

From 27 until 29 of June 2008 in Hungary the first Younger Age Category Beach Handball European Championship was held, where eight women’s and eight men’s teams took part. Ukrainian men’s team hold the fifth place, women’s team – fourth place. In 2011 the second YAC Beach Handball Championships were hosted by Croatia.