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Handball takes on the sand

Two men playing beach handball. There is a crow of people watching them.

By Daniel Eisenhut

The beach has become a place to get knee deep in sand sports. Countries with a beach lifestyle, like Brazil, are taking some traditional court sports outdoors. Beach Handball, similar to traditional handball, is becoming increasingly popular. Brazil won first place in the 2018 Men’s Beach Handball World Championships, and third in the women’s. 

Former beach handball player, Bernardo Perelló, a 35-year-old from Rio de Janeiro, played the sport for 12 years. The athlete took the game by storm, playing for Brazil’s national team and later TV commentating. 

“I used to be a handball indoor player since I was 10 years-old, first I played for the school team, and after that, for the Niterói city club, on a similar trajectory to my teammates. In the late 2000s, when I was around 18 years old, I decided to focus on Beach Handball,” said Perelló.

Beach handball follows the same rules as your standard game. The game is two halves, lasting ten minutes each with the points counted separately just like a volleyball game. 

One of the unfortunate parts about this sport is that it doesn’t have as much traction as other big national sports like basketball or soccer, leaving players to have to find other sources of income outside of the game.

”Athletes must work somewhere else to pay the bills. There are lots of players that also play professional indoor handball besides the sand modality. The current moment of the sport is the expectation to be included in the Summer Olympic Games, which could change the level and perspective [of the sport], and turn the modality into a professional sport,” said Perelló.

Overall, this is a game that will hopefully be more widely known in the coming years. 

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