Olympic weekend watch: Handball team have tough test against 'Les Experts'

 

Britain start their handball campaign tomorrow night at 7.30pm against the hardest possible opposition.

Les Experts, as the French men's team are known, are the current world and Olympic champions. They have just lost their European title but are still the world's best, and will give Britain a ferocious challenge in the Copper Box.

It is not unfair to say that handball in Britain is not quite as serious as it is on the continent.

But Team GB captain Bobby White now plays in the elite French league despite only discovering the sport within the last five years.

He used to be a semi-professional footballer, playing in goal, and only through UK Sport's Sporting Giants programme did he realise that his skill-set might be better used elsewhere.

Now White is delighted to be where he is. "Handball wasn't my first love, but I am 100 per cent into it now," he said. "It's just the sport for me. In football, you can go 20 minutes or longer without touching the ball and it seems so mundane looking back at all those days I spent out on a Saturday afternoon in the sticks.

"In handball, you're involved every couple of minutes and can have a really big impact on the game as a keeper and I absolutely love it."

Team GB are not quite favourites for a medal this summer, and lost their last warm-up match 44-12 to Hungary.

But White is keen that the players should retain a professional attitude throughout, regardless of what happens.

"I'm immensely proud to be the first man to lead out a Team GB men's handball team at the Olympics," he said.

"I try to bring a calming influence to the dressing room with the boys. There's new experiences for us every day but I'm keeping the boys' feet on the ground and not letting them get sucked away by any distractions there may be."

France will certainly be desperate to win after the frustration of losing their European title earlier this year.

"There was a lot of work and preparation after the European championship, but this is a new competition and we must play better," demanded goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer.

"There are a lot of good teams that want to win, especially Denmark and Spain. It would be the first time a men's handball team win two gold medals in a row."

Technical director Philippe Bana agreed: "We are very humble. To be two-time Olympic Champions is a dream but we can't say that will happen for sure."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence