THE journey doesn’t stop for the Philippine women’s beach handball team as it eyes a longer training and preparation in its first-ever stint in the World Beach Handball Championship next year.
The Filipinas will have time on their side as the meet won’t be held until July f 2024, giving them enough breathing room to prime up for what would be a historic campaign for the team.
The dream became possible following their silver medal finish in the last 9th Asian Beach Handball Championship, a tournament where they had the benefit to prepare for only two months.
The tournament held in Bali, Indonesia, served as qualifier to the world championship.
The meet host is still to be announced as five countries are bidding to stage it.
“It would really be a tough competition, but what will worked for us is we have enough time to prepare, get the necessary support and resources the team needs for the competition,” said head coach Jana Franquelli as she appeared with playing coach Aurora Adriano and team captain Socorro Borja in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the conference room of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
“We’ll give our best to train and work jard,” Borja said. “If our preparation in the Asian meet was short, we’ll double it for the world.”
The team does need that as it will be up against the best beach handball units around the world like Brazil, Scandinavia, Denmark, Hungary, among others.
But the Filipinas are ready for the challenge the way they did in the Asian meet where they finished runner-up behind powerhouse Vietnam and beat Indonesia in a shootout along with Hong Kong.
“It’s best to play as the underdog,” said Borja in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Philippine Sports Commission, Milo, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“Were overwhelmed of the accomplishment, it’s our first time to qualify in the world championship, so we’re very extremely happy,” Franquelli said. “But there’re a lot of things to do.”
Being eyed is a possible foreign exposure for the team, perhaps in Europe by the fourth quarter of the year.
Too bad, there would be no beach handball in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, although the sport is expected to be part of the calendar of events of the 2025 SEA Games in Thailand.
“For sure in 2025 Thailand already assured that it will have the handball back in the SEA Games calendar,” Franquelli said.