"We are very excited to bring our 2007 National Championships to the State of Delaware and to the University of Delaware this coming April 6-8," said Mike Cavanaugh, the United States Olympic Committee's Manager of High Performance for Team Handball. "We have been very impressed with the warm welcome and the level of professionalism we have experienced with the students, faculty and staff we have encountered in the early phase of organizational planning. Matt Russell of the Delaware Economic Development Office has led the charge from our initial contact and we are very confident that through his expertise our athletes will have a very memorable experience through their participation in this event."
More than 350 athletes will descend on Newark for the tournament, providing economic benefit to local restaurants and shops during a typically quiet Easter weekend.
"The state of Delaware is proud to host this exciting Olympic sport," said Tim Morgan, Director of the Delaware Tourism Office. "The United States Olympic Committee's decision demonstrates Delaware's capacity to host international events. It will certainly boost tourism, economic development, future investment in infrastructure and provide an opportunity to showcase the First State to the world."
Competition will be held at the Delaware Field House and the Carpenter Sports Building, both located at the University of Delaware's Newark campus. Top teams, including Olympians, from around the U.S. will compete in one of the tournament's three divisions: Men's Elite, Men's Open and Women's Open. The finals of the Championships will occur on Sunday afternoon and spectators will be admitted free of charge throughout the entire event.
"It's exciting to have this high caliber athletic competition come to Delaware, the result of good teamwork among all the hosting partners," said J. Harry Feldman, Executive Director of the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's great for our economy and also affords Delaware considerable national publicity."
Team handball traces its origins back to ancient Greece. The modern version was developed in Denmark in 1897. One of the world's most popular sports, especially in Europe and North Africa, team handball is played in 183 countries, with 31 million players, trainers, officials and referees. Team handball is a fast-paced game with two teams of seven players, including a goalie. The sport combines elements of soccer and basketball as players pass, catch and dribble a small ball with their hands. Players score goals by throwing the ball past a goalkeeper into the net for one point. Games consist of two 30-minute halves with a typical match lasting about an hour and 15-minutes. Scores usually run into the mid-20s.
About Delaware Tourism Office: The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism Web site at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, United States Olympic Committee NGB Services Manager at 719-866-4608 and Nikki Boone of the Delaware Tourism Office at 302-672-6857.