International Handball body keen to promote sport in India
Tokyo: International Handball Federation (IHF) president Hassan Moustafa has shown his keenness to develop the sport in India following a meeting with Handball Federation of India's (HFI) executive director Anandeshwar Pandey during the recently concluded Olympic Games here.
Handball has been identified as a priority sport by the Union Sports Ministry under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and has close to 80,000 registered players in India.
The meeting involved discussions about how IHF can extend its support to give international exposure opportunities to Indian handball players and also provide top foreign coaches and experts to train local coaches and technical officials, helping them upscale their skillsets.
"It was a meaningful meeting with the IHF president. We have so much potential in handball in India, it just needs some backing and efforts in the right direction. IHF is interested in supporting us in order to popularise this sport in the country. We also discussed how IHF can help us in our mission to further take this sport to new heights," Pandey said.
Handball has received a boost in India in recent times, especially with the launch of the Premier Handball League (PHL) and, the sport has also been included in Khelo India, facilitating grassroots development.
IHF also promised to support the league, which is expected to bolster the progress of handball in India and attract more players to take up the sport professionally.
"The league (PHL) will definitely play a crucial role in developing this sport. We had a detailed discussion on PHL during the meeting and IHF is ready to support in every possible way, knowing that the league will help us in creating a large pool of talented players and also giving them a much-needed financial stability in their careers," added Pandey.
India has been earmarked as the next big destination for handball by the International Handball Federation.
With the introduction of PHL, the Handball Federation of India, through Bluesport Entertainment Pvt Ltd -- the official license holders -- is aiming to revolutionise the way the sport is being played in India as well as ensuring better financial sustainability for the players.