men’s and four women’s teams competed over a six-day handball tournament (9-14
May) held as part of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games which are set to finish
on 22 May in in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Islamic Solidarity Games involve elite athletes from the 57 member countries of
the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, with the Games overseen by The
Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF). Non-Muslim citizens of these
countries also participate in the Games which include 20 sports, in total,
complete with two para-sports.
first Islamic Solidarity Games took place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2005,
followed by Tehran, Iran (2010) and Palembang, Indonesia, in 2013. Handball was
included in 2005, and 2017 marked the second time the sport has been included.
2017, handball saw 18 games in the men’s competition and 10 in the women’s
competition with the Saudi Arabian men and host nation women crowned champions
in the Sarhadchi Arena, where all 28 games took place.
Arabia, coached by former Yugoslavian and Croatia national player Nenad Kljaic,
beat Turkey 26:21 (12:10) in front of 1,000 spectators, thanks to eight strikes
from Hisham Alobaidi. Saudi Arabia had a silver from 2005, having lost the
final against Algeria, who could not defend their title after 12 years,
eventually finishing in fourth, after losing the bronze medal match against
Iraq, 27:22 (17:10).
though the men’s home nation could only finish fifth, the tournament allowed
the first global exposure for the male team as they seek to catch up with their
female counterparts on the world stage.
our first big competition so fifth place isn't a bad result," said
Azerbaijan head coach Hikmat Abdullayev to local media. "We have a hard-working
team but we didn't have much time to prepare as a lot of our players come from
abroad. I felt like we could have done more but, all things considered, it's
not that bad of a result.”
nation Azerbaijan gave the 1,800 fans inside the Sarhadchi Arena something
happy to go home with as eight strikes from Alla Chernyshkova helped her side
beat Turkey 28:26 (14:11) to claim gold. Cameroon beat Uzbekistan 35:27 (18:14)
in the bronze medal match.
55.6 goals a game for the men and 59.4 for the women, the tournament’s 1,594
strikes ensured that all those watching witnessed plenty of action from the
teams including Cameroon, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan in the women’s
competition and Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Morocco,
Iraq and Afghanistan in the men’s competition.
The female IHF referee couples of Viktoria Alpaidze (RUS) and Tatyana
Berezkina (RUS) whistled the men’s JOR-TUR Group B game and Diana-Carmen
Florescu (ROU) and Anamaria Stoia (ROU) took charge of the men’s 5/6
placement match between AZE-MAR, in addition to their duties whistling the
GOLD – Saudi Arabia (KSA)
2. SILVER – Turkey (TUR)
3. BRONZE – Iraq (IRQ)
GOLD – Azerbaijan (AZE)
SILVER – Turkey (TUR)
BRONZE – Cameroon (CMR)