THE TT Team Handball Association (TTTHA) is preparing to host the North American and Caribbean (NORCA) International Handball Federation (IHF) Championships in July, a men and women’s team qualifying event for the ANOC World Beach Games.
According to TTTHA president Roger Salandy, although the dates are yet to be confirmed, the event – the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean – will take place in Tobago, with the following countries and territories getting set to compete: TT, Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USA, St Kitts & Nevis, and Haiti.
“The venue will be Tobago as the beaches there are better for setting out the courts and the hotels are much closer to the beach than here in Trinidad,” Salandy said, adding, “...also we will use it as a good sports tourism (drive) for Tobago.”
Details regarding the format of the tournament are also yet to be finalised. However, it has been confirmed that the top two teams from the competition will qualify for the World Beach Games, which will be held in San Diego, California in October.
“We accepted a request from the International Handball Federation (to host the event),” said Salandy, who added that their status as the most compliant country in the English-speaking Caribbean was the sole factor.
Salandy, who is also a member of the Commonwealth Handball Association’s working group, said he intends on lobbying the body on behalf of this country to host a Commonwealth handball event in the future.
The TTTHA was formed by its first president, Salandy, in 2014. He introduced training sessions in primary and secondary schools during the association’s first four-year strategic plan.
The TTTHA then installed a partial executive committee during its second four-year plan. During that time, Salandy travelled to a number of countries, where he participated in high-level coaching courses and sport management courses.
Within the same cycle, he introduced handball to UTT, a key institution associated with the sport.
Rhonda Clarke, lecturer at UTT, soon got involved.
“(She got involved) not only in the development aspects of the game but as an active participant of the management of the association as the general secretary. The rest is history” Salandy said.
“She added a great amount of support to the association and we look forward to her continued assistance in taking this association to the next level. We have made tremendous progress in many ways in our third four-year planning, from coaching, training, introduction of new players to the sport and even competing abroad which was history making.
A lot more is carded in the future” Salandy added.Among the plans for handball in TT is the establishment of a league for schools and universities later this year.
The national team players, who were screened and selected, practice at the sand court facility at Saith Park, Chaguanas, and at a private facility in San Fernando.
The TTTHA has attempted to increase the awareness and standard of the sport, having already hosted a number of coaching courses in Trinidad led by foreign lecturers for both beach and indoor handball.
The association currently receives supplies and equipment from the IHF in Switzerland, while its basic day-to-day operating costs are paid for by fund-raising activities and corporate assistance.
“The Ministry of Sport gives us all the necessary support and assistance associated with travel but we have never requested financial assistance from them as we try to be self sufficient in our operations,” Salandy said.