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Published October 18th 2010
No longer the domain of geeky school children, handball is a recognised sport in its own right. In fact, hand ball is now played in 150 countries and is part of the Olympic competition.

According to the Australian Olympic Committee, the modern version of handball originated in 1919 in Germany. In 1928, representatives from eleven countries met in order to form the International Amateur Handball Association.

Australia's own history of Olympic-standard handball leaves a little to be desired. Having never qualified for the Olympic competition on skill alone, we were allowed to participate in 2000 because Sydney was hosting the competition.

Nonetheless, there is an active handball community in Australia, presided over by the Australian Handball Federation. The rules of handball are fairly easy to grasp, although the official version bears little resemblance to the schoolyard version most of us grew up with.

With 6 court players and 1 goal keeper on each side, the aim of handball is to throw the ball into the opponent's goal. The handball court is 40 metres long and 20 metres wide. The game is divided into two 30 minute halves. The size of the ball will vary according to the age and gender of the players.

The NSW Handball Association (NSWHA) presides over the competitions in the state. This year, the 2010 Club Season of the Men's Competition commenced in May. The Women's Competition also begins in May.

As these rosters demonstrate, both the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney take part in handball competitions. There are two other clubs: Hills Handball Club and Harbourside Handball Club, which trains in Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre. Although anyone can play handball, it is advisable to contact these clubs in order to find out whether there are games provided for beginners.
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