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Page last updated at 19:55 GMT, Sunday, 30 January 2011

France win World Championships to reach London 2012


France became the first nation in 37 years to retain the men's world handball title with a thrilling 37-35 victory over Denmark in Malmo.

The narrow victory saw them become the second nation, behind hosts Britain, to qualify for the men's Olympic handball event at the London Games.

Their fourth overall crown equals a record set by hosts Sweden and Romania.

Spain beat Sweden 24-23 for the bronze medal, while Britain's men did not qualify for the tournament.

Britain would have had to reach the 2010 European Championships - which they did not contest - to have had a chance of playing alongside the world's finest in Sweden.

Similarly, Britain's women have not qualified for the women's equivalent tournament, to be held in Brazil at the end of the year.

But both the GB men and women were recently given the green light by the British Olympic Association to take up guaranteed places at the London Olympics offered to them as the host nation.

The BOA decided they were competitive enough, and that the sports offered enough legacy in the United Kingdom, for the teams to take part.

However, Britain's men are a long way from being able to match the talent shown by France en route to victory on Sunday.

Normal time failed to separate the French and Danish teams, who finished their allotted 60 minutes tied at 31-31.

But France pulled two goals clear in the first period of extra time in a victory powered by Serbian-born Nikola Karabatic, who contributed 10 goals.

Serbia will be the venue for the 2012 European Championships, where another qualifying place for London 2012 will be decided, while the men's sport returns to Sweden for a final Olympic qualifying tournament in April 2012.


Towards 2012: BBC London reporter tries handball

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see also
GB handball teams given 2012 nod
19 Jan 11 |  Handball
Guide to handball
22 Jan 09 |  Olympics

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