Olympic hopeful to step up 2012 preparations

GB Mens Handball Team'27/10/2009. Credit Colorsport/Dan Rowley'Handball
GB Mens Handball Team'27/10/2009. Credit Colorsport/Dan Rowley'Handball

HORSHAM handball ace Mark Hawkins hopes to shrug off a lack of funding for the sport as he steps up preparations for the 2012 London Olympics.

Mark has played for the Great Britain handball squad for almost three years, and believes that preparations for 2012 are going well, despite obstacles for what is a minority sport in the UK.

“We had some pretty good results in the summer, and we go to Sweden in three weeks for the World Championships where we’ll play some warm-up games against some under-21 sides,” said Hawkins.

Team GB failed to qualify for the World Championship event, and instead will have to prepare for 2012 in friendly matches.

Hawkins though, says he has a lot of faith in head coach Dragan Djukic, who the 25-year-old believes is a ‘good coach with really good plans for us.’

The team receives no government funding to play at these events, meaning the team has had to turn down opportunities to play abroad due to financial constraints.

Mark added: “There are a lot of non-European teams who have offered to play us in warm-up games, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to play them.

“We usually have to pick and choose which games we play.”

Mark himself receives sponsorship from the Lloyds TSB local heroes program, which provides help for him to travel abroad with the Great Britain squad.

Mark is currently playing for Danish side HK Aarhus Nord, who were recently promoted to Denmark’s second division.

Playing in Denmark is the only way for Mark to play high-quality handball, given the poor standard of the league in this country.

“We did really well to get promoted last year, and so far this year we’ve had a few good results” said Hawkins.