The Dutch handball players have made an excellent start to the Olympic Games. The reigning world champion won 32-21 against home country Japan at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, which didn’t stand a chance against the energetic and flashy play of Emmanuel Mayonnade’s team.
Lois Abbingh was the top scorer for the Orange squad with seven goals, but the Volendam corner player Debbie Bont, the returning veteran Nycke Groot and the talented Dione Housheer also played an excellent match. Keepers Tess Wester (first half) and Rinka Duijndam (second half) were also important with some nice saves. At halftime, the team of French national coach Emmanuel Mayonnade already led 18-10.
The Dutch started strong and quickly ran away (11-3) from the Japanese women. Their coach, the Dane Ulrik Kirkely, will undoubtedly have warned his team about the shooting power of Abbingh, whom he had under his wing at Odense last season, just like goalkeeper Tess Wester and Nycke Groot. Within thirteen minutes, however, Abbingh had already scored six times.
The floor of the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo also caused many slips. ,,I’m glad we didn’t suffer any injuries”, said Nycke Groot. Lois Abbingh had also noticed. “I hope they do something about it. It’s quite dangerous. It feels a bit like oil. During training it was too, but only in one or two spots. It seems like they cleaned it in some way. It was now all over the field.”
Groot suggested that it may have had to do with the wrong cleaning agent. “It was dangerous. I also fell once. My opponent got two minutes, but I just slipped. Fortunately, no one was injured, including them. I saw their knees fold in a few times. We would have torn cruciate ligaments, I think.”
On December 15, 2019, the Netherlands became world champions in Japan, when Spain was defeated 29-30 in a thrilling final in the Park Dome in Kumamoto by Abbingh’s penalty in the last second. Without experienced forces such as Estavana Polman and Jessy Kramer (both injured), the Netherlands now has to hunt for new success on the slippery floor in the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, the place where swimmer Ada Kok won Olympic gold in 1964.
In the group stage, the Netherlands still plays against Korea (Tuesday 09.15), Angola (Thursday 09.15), Norway (Saturday 14.30) and Montenegro (Monday 12.30).
The Netherlands made its debut at the previous Olympic Games, five years ago in Rio de Janeiro. The team of then national coach Henk Groener came in fourth at the time, after defeats against France (in the semi-finals) and Norway (in the battle for the bronze). Now the Netherlands will meet feargegner Norway again, in the fourth of five group matches.
Four of the six countries from Group A advance to the quarter-finals. Pool B consists of Spain, Hungary, Russia, France, Sweden and Brazil. The final of the tournament is on Sunday, August 8 at 3 PM local time, so at 8 AM Dutch time.
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Slips on ‘dangerous, oily floor’ do not bother handball players at dream start | Olympics
Source link Slips on ‘dangerous, oily floor’ do not bother handball players at dream start | Olympics