Meet the NZ men's handball team out to cause upsets at first big international tournament

Handball is growing as a sport in New Zealand and a major milestone is about to be realised - for the first time a Kiwi team will compete in the Asia Men's Handball Championship next month in South Korea.

The sport brings together aspects of football, basketball, ice hockey and rugby.

"It's pretty unbelievable, I to be honest never wanted to go to South Korea before so it's a good opportunity," goalkeeper Thomas Roxburgh said.

Team member Luke Ireland said the team has only previously competed internationally in the Oceania Championship in Australia.

"To make it is huge... If this sport kicks off we're going to look back on this tournament as this is where it all started, so I mean everyone's just feeling geared up to go over there and have a crack at it," he said.

The national team of 15 men and two coaches will head to the championships next month, which act as a qualifier for the 2019 World Men's Championship.

There's around 500 handball players across New Zealand but the sport's hub is based in Wellington where there's a league competition and weekly games. It's also where the national team meet for training camps, with several players travelling from outside the capital.

Overseas, the sport is as popular as rugby in some European and Arab countries, and almost as bruising. Kids can start playing at primary school.

Here, most players join up around university age through friends already part of the 'tight-knit' community, team member Mr Ireland said.

The national team ranges in age from 18 to 46, bringing together students and full-time professionals, ranging from an architect to teacher and sales representative.

The team's self-funding their road to the championship through fundraising and sponsorship deals. Each team member's cost is around $8000.

It's a far cry from the situation of the paid professionals in the championship, including past Olympic teams like Qatar who they'll play.

Coach Ludovic Galliegue said the competition will be tough but whatever the outcome, it will be a significant step for putting New Zealand on the map for handball. He said they plan to leave with no regrets.

"We are really going there to make a few upsets and get a few wins," he said.

"These guys are a very good example on how quickly New Zealanders can get good at the game and can progress very fast, these guys are starting very late in their lifetime so it's a very good showcase."

The team said many Kiwis would enjoy playing the sport due to it being a bit like rugby with contact involved. The championship's part of their mission to spread word of the sport, with the biggest misconception being that they play the lunchtime version, also known as four-square.

"It's fast, it's physical and there's a lot of skill involved. I think New Zealanders are quite built for the sport but all the tall guys are playing basketball and volleyball but it would be good to get them over to handball and see what we can do," team member Karl Fitzpatrick said.

The countdown's now on but the team's still in need of one thing to make a lasting, but appropriate, impression.

"We've been looking for public interest to try give us a name because as this point we really haven't been able to come up with anything catchy," Mr Ireland said.

The team, yet to find its own catchy name, is heading to the Asia Men's Handball Championship in South Korea. Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Kiwi teen Kanah Andrews-Nahu breaks several national records at weightlifting meet

Kiwi teen Kanah Andrews-Nahu has broken several national records at a weightlifting meet today.

Andrews-Nahu has now broken 135 New Zealand records.

Her records today were:

Snatch: NZ youth 75+Kg and junior 90kg - new record of 96kg

C&J: NZ youth 75+Kg and junior 90kg - new record of 111kg

Total: NZ youth 75+Kg and junior 90kg - new record of 200kg (which she then broke minutes later)

Total: NZ youth 75+Kg and junior 90kg - new record of 207kg

Andrews-Nahu has now broken 135 New Zealand records. Source: 1 NEWS


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Anthony Joshua delivers seventh round knockout, defends world titles against Alexander Povetkin

Anthony Joshua has kept his status as the biggest name in world boxing, defeating Russia's Alexander Povetkin at London's Wembley Stadium this morning with a seventh round knockout.

Coming into the fight with his WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF titles on the line, Joshua began brightly against 39-year old Povetkin, landing some early blows in the opening round, before Povetkin began to rattle the undefeated Brit with some shots of his own.

Joshua was then rattled towards the end of the first round, as Povetkin landed a blow to the nose to draw blood from his opponent.

Povetkin attempted to capitalise on his early success, and started to try and control the fight at the start of the third round, most notably with his left hook stopping Joshua find any sort of rhythm.

However, Joshua was able to inflict some damage of his own, cutting Povetkin above the left eye with a stinging uppercut.

It was in the sixth round though that the fight truly came to life, with both fighters seeming to exchange blows at will.

Joshua stamped his authority in the seventh, knocking Povetkin to the canvas in the seventh, before finishing the fight with a volley of blows as the officials bought the bout to an end.

Joshua will now almost certainly line up a bout with American and WBC champion Deontay Wilder, looking to add the final heavyweight world title to his collection.

 Anthony Joshua punches Alexander Povetkin
Anthony Joshua punches Alexander Povetkin Source: Getty

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Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb wins silver at World Surf Games in Japan

New Zealand surfer Paige Hareb has won silver at the women's final of the World Surfing Games in Japan this afternoon.

The 28-year-old from Taranaki finished in second place behind Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons.

Hareb's best two scores were 7.93 and 6.73 in the final, enough to edge out her South African rival Bianca Buitendag.

The Kiwi surfer made the final after a sensational performance in the last seconds of her qualifying heat this afternoon.

She had a slow start in her heat scoring 6.20 and 6.40 before she nailed an 8.6 to secure a total heat score of 15.00 out of 20.

Hareb's best scores were 7.93 and 6.73, with Aussie surfer Sally Fitzgibbons winning gold at the event. Source: SKY


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Granddaughter following in sporting footsteps of New Zealand's oldest living Olympian

Our oldest living Olympian is adding to her list of proud moments, with her granddaughter following in her sporting success.

Ngaire Galloway (nee Lane) is getting ready to watch 17-year-old Gina Galloway compete at next month's 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

Described as a "a powerful and stylish swimmer", Galloway was New Zealand’s first female swimmer to hold concurrent junior, intermediate and senior national records.

She was also the only swimmer and female in the New Zealand team to compete at the 1948 London Games.

Seventy years on, granddaughter Gina is showing the same form. Last year she won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas.

Gina visited her Nana in Nelson today for a final "goodluck" before her next big event.

The pair not only share the swimming gene, they are both backstroke specialists too.

"From a young age, listening to all her stories, of her travels, the friends she's made and the experiences she's gained from swimming has been really really inspiring," Gina told 1 NEWS.

Both agree the technique has changed , but the goal - to be the fastest- remains the same.

"Three years ago I was still swimming 30 lengths, but I struck some back trouble," says Ngaire.

At 92, she’s enjoying being a spectator.

"She's able to livestream into the races I'm doing and Dad always sends her the links so she can watch. It's always cool knowing she's watching from Nelson," says Gina.

Now Ngaire hopes to catch Gina's medal moment in Argentina.

"I'd probably just about collapse with excitement."

"You better be careful," she tells her granddaughter.

Ngaire Lane, 92, is getting ready to watch her granddaughter compete at the Youth Olympics. Source: 1 NEWS