400+ duke it out for National title this weekend in Chicagoland
As Chicago 2016's Olympic Week comes to a close in the Windy City, one of the Olympics' most dynamic team sports will heat up Elgin, IL, with USA Team Handball's 2009 Club National Championships.
More than 400 athletes from around the United States and world will convene May 8-10 in Elgin to battle for the title of National Champion. Squads are set to compete in more than 60 matches, and, in perfect timing with the Chicago 2016 bid, expose Chicagoland to one of the world's most exciting and popular Olympic sports. This will be the National Championships' first stop in Illinois; the Elgin Convention and Visitors Bureau has estimated the economic impact will be $300,000. Competitors range from newcomers to lifelong enthusiasts - from U.S. Olympians to professional athletes to students. Twenty-seven teams in total participating.
Among those in attendance will be Dr. Hassan Moustafa, the Egyptian president of the International Handball Federation. In addition to frequenting the competition in Elgin, Moustafa will tour proposed Olympic venues in Chicago with the directors and managers of Chicago 2016 and World Sport Chicago. Other international guests of the 2009 Club National Championships include referee pairs from Canada, Germany and Poland: Germany's Hagen Becker and Axel Hack have officiated more than 500 Toyota Handball Bundesliga matches. Polish brothers Leszek and Arkadiusz Solodko are considered one of the top pairs in the ZPRP (Polish Handball Federation). The third couple, Canada's Veronique Bougie and Eric Charbonneau, has officiated at events in the USA previously.
Competition will take place at three venues in Elgin: Judson University, The Centre of Elgin and Elgin Community College. VIP Weekend passes are available for $30 and grant spectators unlimited entry into the venues all weekend long. Single-day, single-venue passes are also available for $5 each, with children 5 years of age and under free. Tickets can be purchased online at USA Team Handball's store or at the venues in Elgin. (Please click here for direction/maps to the venues and how to reach Elgin from O'Hare Int'l Airport.)
Friday, May 8
Matches at Judson & The Centre: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Matches at Elgin Community College: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 9
Matches at all three venues: 7:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. & 2:10 to 9:20 p.m.
Sunday, May 10
Placement Games at The Centre: 7 to 11:40 a.m.
Women's Final at Judson: 12:45 p.m.
Men's Final at Judson: 2:30 p.m.
For a more detailed match schedule, please view PDFs of the men's bracket and the women's bracket.
Can't make to Elgin?
USA Team Handball has worked to increase handball's level of exposure in the United States through broadcast, including the live streaming of the Word Championships on ESPN360.com in January and Army vs. Air Force at College Nationals on the USOC's teamusa.org. Thanks again to teamusa.org, people around the world can watch the final matches of the 2009 Club National Championships Sunday at 12:45 p.m. (women's) and 2:30 p.m. (men's) Central Time. The broadcast will feature play-by-play commentary from veteran Kenn Tomasch.
USA Team Handball will provide updates on the competition throughout the weekend on http://usateamhandball.org and http://handball.teamusa.org. To-the-minute scores and match results will be posted to USA Team Handball's Twitter page at http://twitter.com/usath.
Members of the media interested in obtaining venue credentials should e-mail Lauren@usateamhandball.org.