A few days after their victory in Japan, the forthcoming dates for the French women’s handball team are already on the horizon.
A medal, an apotheosis
The French women had both the honor and the responsibility of bringing the team sport competitions in Tokyo to an end. During his pre-match talk, Coach Olivier Krumbholz emphasized just how much was at stake in their final. Time has passed, and they have since returned to France… but they are the ones who brought home that last lingering taste of Japan by proving themselves perfectly capable of bringing to a triumphant conclusion the French team sports experience in the 2020 Olympics. Their magnificent victory against the Russians (30 to 25) was the crowning moment of fifteen exhilarating days with gold won by the men's handball and volleyball teams, a silver medal seized by the men's basketball team, a bronze medal won by the women’s basketball players and gold claimed by the French women’s handball team. The women handball players, however, will barely have time to savor their victory when they must already start looking to the future. Indeed, the draw for the next Women’s World Championship will take place today (Thursday, August 12), a competition scheduled to run from December 2 to 19 in Castellon (Spain) and where they will inevitably be ranked among the favorites.
Back on the court again in October
QHow far they have come when you remember that in the last World Cup – which was held, ironically, in Japan – the French women finished 13th! They didn’t even get pass the preliminary round. What progress they have made when you think of their final, their uncompromising 30-25 victory over the Russians, those same Russians who overwhelmed them in the final in Rio 2016. They emerged triumphant from this confrontation thanks to their watertight defense and to an exceptional goalkeeper: Cléopâtra Darleux, supported by the Caisse d'Epargne Bretagne Pays de Loire. This outstanding athlete put up during the competition, as in the final match, a masterful performance, notably with decisive saves against Anna Vyakhireva and Polina Vedekhina.
The outcome of this success is that French women's handball is beginning to boast a rare record of achievements with triumphs in two world championships and a European championship victory. But already, as soon as the festivities are over, they will have to get back into the thick of things without delay: today they have the draw for the next World Cup and, in October, they will have to compete in two matches, one against Ukraine, the other against the Czech Republic in the qualifying rounds for the forthcoming European championships. And then there will start the run-up to Paris 2024 where, don’t forget, both the men’s and women’s handball teams will be competing as title holders...
Copyright photo : KMSP