Handball: Olympic adventure over for Team GB


The Olympic handball adventure is over for Great Britian's men after defeat to reigning silver medallists Iceland in their final preliminary stage game this afternoon and Ciaran Williams is sad a turbulent six-year journey has come to an end.

Williams, 24, has been a key player in the Team GB squad since its inception in 2006 and has put his life on hold in pursuit of the Olympic dream. He missed out on going to university and, along with many members of the squad, spent nights sleeping on a floor in various outposts of Europe after their development programme was hit by funding cuts.

That has all been justified by their presence at London 2012 and despite a whitewash in Group A, the men have more than played their part in triggering the handball craze that has swept the nation during the Games.

The home support in the Copper Box has been unrelenting and this afternoon's defeat to the Scandinavians, which was coach Dragan Djukic's final game, marked an emotional occasion for Williams.

"I have managed to keep it all in for the other games, but it just came spilling out," he told Press Association Sport. "There was no way I was keeping that in, six years of hard work has come to an end now.

"It's the greatest experience of my life, but also the saddest now saying goodbye to Dragan. That reception at the end there was an absolutely amazing experience."

While Great Britain have endured a torrid affair for the majority of their time on court, there have been some bright spots, none more so than in today's clash where the first half represented their best ever performance before going on to let it slip, eventually losing 41-24.

And Williams enjoyed his London 2012 experience to the maximum.

"It's been everything I hoped it would be and more," he said. "We haven't had the results, a couple of them haven't reflected the game, like that one there, we ran out of steam.

"We have had a very tough tournament, there is no getting away from that.

"That first half was probably the best half of handball we have ever played, so we can be proud of that and the future looks very, very bright for handball in the country and the squad.

"The opening ceremony was amazing, walking out to the crowd in our first game against France was special and the end part of the last game against Iceland was a highlight.

"We have had five losses, played well at times, not so well at other times, but the crowd were on their feet at the end and they could see what we have put into it. That was amazing."

Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson has given Great Britain optimism for the future as his side prepare for a quarter-final with Hungary.

"The atmosphere in the Copper Box is fantastic," he said. "This is my fifth Olympics and it's the best atmosphere of all.

"It will take time for Britain. They need to learn from others and don't need to reinvent the wheel.

"Handball should suit the British, they can fight and they are good at football and rugby. It can become a good sport for them."


peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam