Editor’s note: Team Handball and Beach Handball deserve your attention. Since 2015, the Trinidad and Tobago Team Handball Association, in collaboration with The University of Trinidad and Tobago have been working extremely hard to bring a product that is worthy of your viewership. They have competed in a number of tournaments and taken part in workshops in order to further the sport and its development, and have been rewarded with hosting the inaugural NORCA Beach Handball Tournament. Go give it a chance. The games this weekend are free. It’s about time we give other sports the privilege of our support that actually have a promising future in Trinidad and Tobago.
The inaugural NORCA Beach Handball Championships kicked off this past Thursday in Saith Park, Chaguanas, and was in action yesterday as well as the tournament pushes into Day 3 of proceedings with placement games and the knockout stages to play today.
Eight countries: Puerto Rico, Barbados, the United States of America, Mexico, Haiti, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and hosts Trinidad and Tobago, took to the sand courts, with both male and female teams playing in the tournament.
This is the first beach handball tournament to be held since PATHF (Pan-American Team Handball Federation) was suspended by the International Handball Federation on 14th January, 2018. The IHF Council decision was taken on the facts that there were no signs of development in the level of handball and beach handball in the North American, Central American and the Caribbean countries. The IHF would go on to divide PATHF into it’s successors: the North American and Caribbean Handball Federation (NORCA) and the South and Central American Handball Federation.
Speaking with National Handball coach Kenwin Goden, he spoke about the purpose of the NORCA Championships as well as what benefits holding the tournament here in Trinidad and Tobago for the tournament’s inaugural run.
“It is the first for the NORCA region, which is the North America and Caribbean region. It is a qualifier for the World Beach Handball Games which is set to be held in Qatar later this year and it is also a qualification for the World Beach Handball Championships in Italy next year. Having the championships here, we are looking for the exposure for a sport that is on the rise in Trinidad and Tobago. Something new, something other than cricket, football, volleyball and netball that the country could forward to.”
Coach Goden also talked about the development of Handball and how it has grown from 2015 to now.
“In terms of development, I believe that we have done very well. There’s only about 2 or 3 players that are here from since 2015 to now that remained, but yes I am happy with our progress. It could be faster, pending the availability of playing teams in practice games, because we train alone here. We train as a club and play against each other, amongst ourselves, and only in tournaments like this can we put what we learn to practice. Other times we would take part in SoCal Beach Handball Championships in America. Last year we took part in the Pan Am games before the split. So I am happy with our progress.”
The National women’s team were up first as they faced off against Barbados and won in convincing fashion, winning 22-5, 20-9. Later on they would face off against USA and, despite their best effort, would go on to lose the Americans, 2-0 (20-12, 18-6).
Over to the National men’s team as they won both of their matches today. They first met Barbados and gave them the business, with lopsided victories of 28-8 and 26-0. Later they would face a tougher challenge against Dominica but the Trinidad and Tobago men stood tall, winning 30-17, 22-11.
Other Day One Scores:
USA defeated Barbados (2-0: 22-5, 20-8)
Mexico defeated St. Kitts & Nevis (2-0: 25-5, 27-14)
Dominica defeated Haiti (2-1: 23-12, 8-17, Won 6-5 on penalties)
USA defeated Haiti (2-0: 34-16, 26-18)
Mexico defeated Puerto Rico (2-0: 19-12, 26-14)
Mexico defeated Haiti (2-0: 18-0, 31-2)
Puerto Rico defeated Dominica (2-0: 13-6, 11-8)
USA defeated St Kitts & Nevis (2-0: 22-0, 28-3)
St Kitts & Nevis defeated Barbados (2-1: 7-9, 10-5 won 5-3 on penalties)
Today is the 2nd day of the preliminary rounds of the tournament with Trinidad and Tobago taking on USA and Haiti in the men’s division while the women’s team are looking to bounce back against St. Kitts & Nevis. The rest of the men’s divison were fighting for a place in the semifinal and the teams in the women’s division were fighting for placement in the quarterfinal round in day 3.
In the men’s division, it was Trinidad and Tobago kicking off Day 2 proceedings against an undefeated USA team that has yet to be really challenged in the tournament so far. In the end, T&T would lose for the first time against the Americans 26-12, 24-16 but would provide them with their smallest margin of victory for the tournament so far. Trinidad and Tobago would make up for the loss by later winning their 2nd match of the day against Haiti, winning 18-12 and 32-17.
The women would play their only match of the day against St. Kitts and Nevis later in the evening and would provide to be a thriller. It was a defensive struggle for both games, as T&T would take the opening game 14-9. However, St. Kitts and Nevis would prove a stubborn opponent, stealing a win against the home team favorites on the last play of the game, a 7-6 upset to force a penalty shootout. Trinidad and Tobago would struggle to hold on to the ball in the first 3 of 4 attempts while Dominica were outdone by good goalkeeper play and unforced errors. In the end, Trinidad and Tobago would escape with 2 two-point goals and grinding out the win by a score of 4-1 on penalties.
With a 3-1 win/loss records for the men’s team, they would book their places in the semifinal round of the tournament, joining the USA, Mexico and Puerto Rico teams. Trinidad and Tobago will square off against Mexico in the 2nd semifinal game today. USA will take on Puerto Rico in the first semifinal.
On the women’s side, Trinidad and Tobago would finish 2nd in the preliminary round with a 2-1 record and will be the 2nd seed team going into the quarterfinal round today. They will face off against 3rd seed Dominica in the 2nd quarterfinal match, for a spot in the semifinal round tomorrow on Day 4.
Other Day Two Scores:
Puerto Rico defeated St. Kitts & Nevis (2-0: 14-10, 18-8)
Haiti defeated Barbados (2-0: 30-10, 26-16)
USA defeated Dominica 28-8, 34-16 (2-0: 28-8, 34-16)
Mexico defeated St. Kitts & Nevis (2-0: 20-9, 22-8)
Mexico defeated Puerto Rico (2-0: 19-18, 24-14)
Dominica defeated Barbados (2-0: 18-11, 18-13)
Mexico defeated Dominica (2-0: 19-7, 33-5)
USA defeated Barbados (2-0: 26-1, 22-3)
Puerto Rico defeated Haiti (2-0: 16-8, 8-4)
Dominica defeated Haiti (2-0: 8-6, 15-14)
Mexico defeated Puerto Rico (2-0: 26-10, 19-4)