by Waylon Galvez
The national handball team is set to see action in different international tournaments this year, but the ultimate goal for its local federation is for the sport to be included in the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games the country will host next year.
There is no formal list yet as to what sports disciplines would be played in the biennial meet, and officials of the Philippine Handball Federation (PHF) are hoping for the inclusion of the sport.
PHF president Steve Hontiveros is lobbying for the inclusion of handball, and secretary general Dr. Jay Adalem said that the current players they have are possible medal winners.
“Malaki naman ang posibilidad ng mga players namin sa handball na manalo ng medalya,” said Adalem. “Sana lang mabigyan kami ng chance na mapabilang sa mga sports na lalaruin sa SEA Games.”
At the moment, handball is in the Category 2 of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) priority sports because it is played in the Asian Games and the Olympics.
There will be a joint task force from the POC and the PSC that will select the composition of sports and events for the SEA Games, which the country last hosted in 2005.
The national team won the overall title during that edition of the SEA Games.
“We have nothing to lose by including handball,” said handball coach Jana Franquelli, a former basketball player during her days at University of Santo Tomas with the Lady Tigers.
“It will be a big boost to the sport because we’ll be able to promote it, create opportunities not only for aspiring players but also for referees, coaches, technical officials, and managers.”
“Of course, there is also the chance for our players to contribute to the goal of Philippine Team which is to win the overall championship for the country in the next year’s SEA Games,” she added.
The national handball team, meanwhile, will try to bring home medals when it competes in the International Handball Federation Trophy in Malaysia scheduled April 16 to 22 in Kuala Lumpur.