After a rather charming opening ceremony in the Sawai Mangh Singh Indoor Stadium, the I IHF Inter Continental Challenge Trophy took off in Jaipur, India. In front of 1,000 enthusiastic spectators the host nation and organizer, India, faced the European winner Finland in an exciting but one-sided handball match. Even though very enthusiastic and motivated in the beginning, the host team had only enough power to resist the visitors from Finland in the first ten minutes of the match. The half time result of 22:12 in favour of the Europeans reflects the real picture on court. In the second half, the Indian team improved and showed more creativity in attack, which resulted in a better scoring and putting the visitors under a little pressure. The end result was Finland vs. India 41:28 (22:12). Benny Broman was the leading scorer of Finland with 10 goals, after spending only around 40 minutes on court, and was declared man of the match after the game. The most distinguished player on the Indian side was Shamsher Singh, marking 9 goals and putting the Finnish defence and goalkeepers to a serious test.
In the second match of the night the winner of the Pan-American Tournament faced Australia in a match between two teams playing each other for the first time. The first quarter of the match was very equal and after 14 minutes Australia led by one goal (6:5). This was the turning point of the match. After several good fast breaks and a remarkably mobile 3/2/1 defence, the Venezuelan team broke the deadlock and took a comfortable lead of 18:8 into the dressing room. In the second half the Australian team managed to neutralize the Venezuelan attack and their own attack picked up pace, which resulted in a much better game on all positions of the court. They even managed to outscore Venezuela in the second half and brought the game to a close. The end result was Australia vs. Venezuela 18:26 (8:18). Carlos Mendoza from Venezuela was the man of the match, scoring 5 times on the right wing position.
The I IHF Challenge Trophy continues today with host India facing Venezuela in a match that promises to be a tight affair, and Finland facing the African winner Benin, who will get the possibility to present themselves for the first time at this event.