COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Women's National Team Handball Team failed to qualify for the 2007 Pan American Games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29, after going winless in the final 2007 Pan American Games Qualifying Event over the weekend in Mexico City, Mexico.
The U.S. suffered a disappointing 29-20 point loss to host country Mexico to open the event and then fell to Chile by the score of 31-30, eliminating the U.S. from contention. Mexico went on to defeat Chile, 27-24, to earn the eighth and final qualification spot for the 2007 Pan American Games.
The 2007 Pan American Games will be the first Pan American Games for the U.S. Women's Team Handball Team not to be represented since the sport was first included on the Pan American Games program in 1987 in Indianapolis, Ind. At the 1987 Pan American Games the U.S. Team Handball Teams won gold in both women and men, the only U.S. sport to do so. The 2007 Pan American Games represent the first time that teams are required to qualify to compete in the Pan American Games.
In their first opportunity to qualify for the 2007 Pan American Games, the U.S. women fell short; losing two games to none to Canada in the North Region 2007 Pan American Games Qualification Event, January 4-7, 2007 in Lake Placid, N.Y. and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Not qualifying for the 2007 Pan American Games is a crucial blow to the U.S. Women's Team Handball program as the team needed to compete in and win gold in the Pan American Games to qualify for the automatic berth to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The team is still alive for Olympic qualification, but now must navigate the daunting 2007 World Championships Qualifying route. The team will begin this quest, May 30 to June 4, at the 2007 Pan American Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They must win this eight team event to qualify for the 2007 World Championships and keep their Olympic dream alive.
The U.S. Men's Team Handball Team will hope for a better fate this weekend as they compete in their final 2007 Pan American Games Qualifying Event, April 5-9, in Santiago, Chile. The U.S. men will face Chile and Venezuela for the eighth and final spot in the 2007 Pan American Games Team Handball Tournament. As with the women, qualifying for the 2007 Pan American Games is a crucial step in the qualification process for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The gold medal winning team at the 2007 Pan American Games will receive an automatic berth into the 2008 Olympic Games.
The U.S. men also fell short in their first opportunity to qualify for the 2007 Pan American Games, losing two games to one to Canada in the North Region 2007 Pan American Games Qualification Event, January 4-7, 2007 in Lake Placid, N.Y. and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, United States Olympic Committee NGB Services Manager at 719-866-4608.