Tallinn Handball Cup breaks records!
The start of the 9th Tallinn Handball Cup is approaching. For the ninth year in a row, the tournament takes place in Tallinn, this time from 8th-11th of June at the sports hall and outdoor fields of the Kuristiku High School.
Today is clear that previous records in number of participants will be broken. From foreign countries alone there are 90 teams registered, which is more than a half of the total 163 boys and girls teams. Besides Estonia, represented countries will be Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Belarus and India.
“The number of participants has grown every year – we started with 70 teams and in last years reached 140-150, but now there has been another little jump upwards,” commented Jüri Lepp, the tournament director from organizing club HC Tallas. “With all players and representatives the number of participants reaches 2500 people!”
There are several reasons for the growth. “Defitinely the location, as it is convenient for Nordic and Baltic countries, but also for Russia and Belarus to come here. Tallinn as a city is itself a great attraction. We have not really advertised, so I believe the previous editions have been succesful and the tournament advertises itself,” said Lepp.
This year the games will be played in six different age groups, for boys and girls: U18 (born 2000-02), U15 (2003-04), U13 (2005-06), as well as in Mini 2007, Mini 2008 and Mini 2009. The final schedule of matches will be drawn by 4th June, when the list of participants is final. “There will always be some cancellations and late additions,” explained Lepp.
In the boys’ U18, arguably the strongest age group four Estonian teams – HC Tallas, Põlva Spordikool, Aruküla SK and HC Kehra – will meet strong opponents. Lithuania and Finland are sending domestic youth league medallists Tauras Vilnius and Siuntio IF, while the remaining two teams are Rimbo HK from Sweden and Indian national team.
“The participation of India would definitely bring some exotic flavour, but also a new level,” said Lepp. “Indian national teams should play in both boys’ and girls’ U18 group, but with visitors coming from so far, we may have some issues. I sincerely hope they will arrive and add a new dimension to our tournament.”
Obviously Tallinn Handball Cup’s main idea is to prolong the ending handball season and offer Estonian teams much needed games with strong opponents from abroad. “But we also wish that the tournament will become a sort of handball festival, where besides the sporting factor, interaction between different nationalities and forming of friendships is important. Our annual team parade and opening ceremony have already proven very popular,” added Lepp.