The 25th IHF Men’s
World Championship Final was played in an electrifying atmosphere in front of
over 15,000 spectators in AccorHotels Arena, Paris. On Sunday January 29, a
number of special guests joined IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa to enjoy the
historic World Championship Final – which was the first ever medal match for
Norway’s men’s team, and also presented a chance for the hosts to win their
record sixth title.
“It was a very good match, very
good competition, but it’s just the beginning. What is important is the end of
the competition!” said Mr Hollande following the host nation’s first win
against Brazil – and he returned to watch France raise the trophy after the
grand finale alongside other guests such as HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco,
International Olympic Committee President Dr Thomas Bach and Linda Hofstad
Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Culture and WADA Vice-President.
As handball has cemented itself
as one of the most watched competitions at the Olympic Games, there were a
number of prominent members from other sporting disciplines in the audience to
witness France’s momentous title win, including IOC Member and Confederation of
African Football President Issa Hayatou, IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell and
Intendant General Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of National Olympic
Committees of Africa.
From other sports, FIFA
Competition Director Mustafa Fahmy, President of the International Judo
Federation Marius Vizer, World Taekwondo Federation President Choue Chungwon
and Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne President Dr Klaus Schormann
were all present, as well as Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, Secretary General
of the Qatar Olympic Committee.
With an all-European competition
following the quarter-final stage, various representatives of the European
Handball Federation were naturally in attendance for the last weekend of games,
including President Michael Wiederer. IHF partners also joined Dr Moustafa for
the ‘phenomenal’ final, with senior members of adidas travelling to Paris,
along with representatives from US broadcaster NBC.
The presence of NBC Executive
Producer Alexander Katz represents a new direction for handball in the United
States, where interest is growing and increased television coverage of major
IHF events is therefore anticipated. Assistant Director of Auburn University,
David Pascoe, was also present at France 2017 for earlier matches in the
competition, meeting with IHF members about the handball academy to be opened
at the University in Alabama.
Mr Pascoe was not the only guest
unable to attend the final, as Husain Al-Musallam, Director General and
Technical Director at OCA, FINA President Julio Maglione, and Francesco Ricci
Bitti, ASOIF President, all took their place in the lively audience to enjoy