HANDBALL - interesting facts you may not know - #simplyfans by Gorenje
Tuesday, 18th September 2018

HANDBALL - interesting facts you may not know

HANDBALL - interesting facts you may not know

We may all be fans of handball, knowing all about our favorite teams and the most popular players but do we know everything about this interesting sport?

You may be surprised about some of these facts from the world of handball. Before we even start – would you ever connect princess of Sparta, Alexander the Great and handball? Probably not.



There are some claims that handball is know to be at least 3000 years old, for the game was familiar to the ancient Greeks.

This is evidenced by the fact that the great poet Homer in his epic poem The Odyssey describes how a Spartan princess named Anagalla invented the game, while Alexander the Great, king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon, is credited with spreading the game to the Greek colonies in Italy, and from there it went to Spain, France and to the other parts of the Roman Empire.

That was something way back before our time, so let’s focus rather on a modern handball and it’s history.

It is believed that the team handball originated from three ball games. Do you want to know which? Here they are:


In Bohemia in the middle of the 1890s a ball game, called Hazena was developing. In the beginning of 1900, teachers Vaclav Karas and Kristof Antonin were regularly teaching the handball-like game in the schools of Prague. Vaclav Karas also published the rules of the game in a Bernese technical journal in 1905.



At around the same time a new ball game was born in Denmark. In one of the schools the school doctor advised the school director to prohibit the play of soccer because of the many injuries it caused. Students were not allowed to kick the ball and because they liked soccer so much they started to play the game with hands. A school teacher, named Holger Nilson, who was also an exceptional sportsman, Olympic winner, had the idea to perfect the game into a new one. This is how Haandbold was born.


In 1915, Bachmann Hermann, a physical education teacher created a new game that was played by hands. The game was called Torball. Torball was a women’s game. It was played by women mainly  and its attributes and rules were suitable to the physical training of women.
Carl Schelenz, a teacher of Berlin Pysical Education Collage modified Torball in 1919 to be suitable for men as well.

The important point in the development of the game came when the rules of the ‘large field’ handball was accepted. The first official, international competition for men was held in Halle in 1925, the first official women’s competition was in 1930 in Prague.


Handball, as we know today – an indoor sport was first presented in the Munich 1972 Olympic games, a competition involved 16 men’s teams with Yugoslavia winning the first Olympic gold medal.

As it is hard to say which game was really the ancestor of today’s handball, let’s just agree that the basics were given by the above-mentioned games and that we are as a handball fans proud to know that even someone as Alexander the Great loved this game.