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Home News Thrilling finals punctuate the conclusion of the FISU Championship Handball

Thrilling finals punctuate the conclusion of the FISU Championship Handball

30 June 2024
The medalists from Antequera 2024 FISU World University Championship Handball

After a week of outstanding university handball action, champions were crowned at the Antequera 2024 FISU World University Championship Handball.

The Spanish city welcomed 14 teams from eight countries in women’s and men’s tournaments, which saw the return to a FISU Championship format (nations are represented) from the FISU Cup format of 2022 (universities are represented). This was the fourth time Spain has hosted the FISU Championship Handball, the most recent also in Antequera and Malaga back in 2016.

In the women’s final, host Spain, following their semi-final win over Czechia, took on rival France, who earned their berth in final on the strength of a convincing win over Poland. These two sides had met earlier in the tournament in a tight match that ended in a 27 all draw.

Spain’s June Loidi during women’s gold medal action

The Spanish side’s defending, and outstanding goaltending from Marta Mera, saw them up seven, 16-9 at halftime. France continued to press in the second half but could not get back in the match, ultimately falling 32-24. This gave Spain its second straight women’s gold on home soil, having won that 2016 tournament.

The bronze medal match, played a day earlier, saw Poland come away the victors with a tight 22-18 win over Czechia. The Czechs had led 5-1 early and 13-10 at half, only to see Poland take control in the second half.

Spain also earned a spot in the men’s final as they took on Poland, in a rematch of the tournament’s opening game won 35-27 by the Spaniards. For the Spanish men, it marked a return to the FISU Championship, having not competed in 2018, while Poland, by nature of its appearance in the final, had already improved upon its eighth place showing from six years ago.

Poland’s Krysztof Jagielski with a shot attempt during the gold medal match against Spain

This gold medal match lived up to its billing as Spain matched the success of its women’s side making it double gold with a 33-30 victory over Poland. Led by 8 goals from the tournament’s top scorer and MVP Pablo Urangarín and 6 from Marcos Nieto, Spain, coached by Diego Dorado, sent the large crowd home happy with their gold medal performance. This capped a very impressive and undefeated tournament for Spain.

Victorious Spanish women’s and men’s teams following their gold medal victories

France captured men’s bronze by knocking off Czechia 32-29 on Saturday. In a match that went back and forth throughout, France converted their opportunities late which propelled them to bronze.

Women’s award winners (L to R) – Chile (fair play award), Eline Veltrop (NED), Mélina Cantin (FRA), Lucyna Sobecka (POL)

As indicated, men’s tournament MVP and leading scorer with 35 went to Spain’s Pablo Urangarín, while Mateusz Lellek from Poland was named best goalkeeper. Czechia won the men’s fair play award. MVP of the women’s tournament was Poland’s captain Lucyna Sobecka. The top goalkeeper was awarded to France’s Mélina Cantin with Chile winning the fair play award and Eline Veltrop of the Netherlands earning top goal scorer with 38.

Written by Doug McLean