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Vietnam wins 1st South East Asian Handball competition in Dumaguete

Vietnam, Asia’s powerhouse beach handball team, emerged as champion in both the men and women categories during the first Southeast Asian Beach Handball championships held here from November 2-5.

This is the first time for the Philippines to host a beach handball competition, with Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental, playing host.

Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo led the awarding ceremonies Sunday evening following the four-day sporting competition which made waves in this capital city.

Vietnam’s women's beach handball team dominated the four-day event. The men’s team suffered its only loss to the newly-born national team of the Philippines during the last game played Sunday evening at the Rizal boulevard beach.

Thailand men’s and women’s teams were second placers and the Philippines came in third.

Mahmood Khokhar, who represented the Asian Handball Federation, said it was the best finish for a newborn team, as he expressed a big surprise for the win that can be considered an upset victory for the highly favored Vietnam players.

He said that with hard work, players and teams get rewarded. He told the PH team to continue with their agility, patience and more practice.

According to Khokhar, the Asian Handball Federation was very impressed with the hosting even with a short notice under the leadership of Mayor Remollo.

The AHF official who hails from Pakistan praised the leadership of the city in hosting an international event, which is an Olympic sport, and was doubly happy upon seeing little children and the crowd cheering for the PH team.

He urged the leaders of the city to bring children to the playing courts and support activities that will keep them away from illegal drugs and other vices when they grow older in order to have a healthy city and a healthy country for that matter.

Meanwhile, Mayor Remollo is looking forward to making this event possible to include the entire Asia and expressed willingness to host again given enough time to prepare.

The mayor said in two years' time, more hotels and condominiums will rise in the city to address the concern for accommodation.

Coach Joana Franquelli of the RP men’s team shed tears of happiness after the match which was decided through a “shootout” with a score of 7-6 in favor of the Philippines.

She said the Philippine Handball Federation invited the best teams in Asia like Vietnam and Thailand, for the national squad to develop their skills and is thankful to the two teams which responded to the invitation.

Notably, three Dumagueteñas and one Dumaguteño were added to the national beach handball teams. Raffy Tinagan of Barangay Bajumpandan was so proud he represented Dumaguete in the men’s team.

City tourism officer Jacqueline Veloso Antonio disclosed the city has already seen the impact of the sports competitions being conducted in the city in terms of tourist arrivals, hotel accommodations, restaurants as well as livelihood opportunities for different sectors including the trike drivers and “balut” vendors.

With the success of the first Southeast Asian Beach Handball competition, Remollo is looking forward to initiating an inter-local government unit beach handball competition in Negros Oriental.

A number of participants completed the training workshop on how to play beach handball while the tournament was going on.

Juancho Gallarde / PNA