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Handball, a dynamic sport enjoyed worldwide.

It features various prestigious tournaments for national teams and clubs.

Here’s an introduction to the most important handball competitions.

Most Important Handball Tournaments:

  1. World Championships
  2. Summer Olympic Games
  3. European Championships
  4. Asian Games
  5. Pan American Games
  6. European Handball Federation Champions League
  7. African Championships
  8. Asian Championships
  9. Pan American Championships
  10. Mediterranean Games
  11. Handball at the Summer Universiade
  12. IHF Super Globe
  13. IHF World Women’s Handball Championship
  14. World University Handball Championship
  15. Eredivisie (The Netherlands)
  16. Handball-Bundesliga (Germany)
  17. Liga ASOBAL (Spain)
  18. Ligue Nationale de Handball (France)
  19. Handball Liga Austria (Austria)
  20. Eliteserien (Norway)
Handball

#1 World Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1938 (men), 1957 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 32 (men), 24 (women)

The IHF World Handball Championships, governed by the International Handball Federation (IHF), are the most prestigious events in handball. France tops the men’s competition with six titles, while Russia leads the women’s with four wins.

The championships have evolved in format, with increased participating teams, providing the ultimate showcase for handball excellence.

#2 Summer Olympic Games

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1936 (men), 1976 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 4 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 12 (men), 12 (women)

Handball has been a part of the Summer Olympic Games since 1936, with the women’s competition added in 1976.

The Olympics, governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), provide an international stage for the world’s best handball players. Croatia, Russia, and Denmark have dominated the men’s competition, while Russia, Norway, and Denmark lead the women’s event.

#3 European Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Europe
  • πŸ“… Established: 1994 (men), 1994 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 16 (men), 16 (women)

The EHF European Handball Championships, organized by the European Handball Federation (EHF), showcase the best European handball teams. The competition promotes rivalries and consistently produces memorable moments.

The men’s event has been historically dominated by France, Denmark, and Germany, while the women’s contest has seen success for Russia, Norway, and Denmark.

#4 Asian Games

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Asia
  • πŸ“… Established: 1982 (men), 1990 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 4 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: Varies

The Asian Games Handball Tournament highlights the growth of Asian handball, reflecting the continent’s increasing competitiveness in the sport.

Participating countries include South Korea, Japan, and China, with South Korea dominating both the men’s and women’s competitions since its introduction.

#5 Pan American Games

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Americas
  • πŸ“… Established: 1987 (men), 1987 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 4 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 8 (men), 8 (women)

The Pan American Games Handball Tournament, part of the Pan American Games, is an important event for North, Central, and South American handball teams.

Organized by the Pan American Handball Federation, the tournament gives teams exposure and the opportunity to compete for international glory. Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba are historically strong competitors in both men’s and women’s events.

#6 European Handball Federation Champions League

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Europe
  • πŸ“… Established: 1956 (men), 1961 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 16 (men), 16 (women)

The EHF Champions League is Europe’s premier club handball competition, offering top club teams the chance to demonstrate their excellence.

Featuring strong teams from across Europe, it is considered the toughest club handball competition in the world. FC Barcelona Handbol is the most successful men’s team, while Viborg HK leads the women’s competition.

#7 African Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Africa
  • πŸ“… Established: 1974 (men), 1974 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: Varies

The African Handball Championships, organized by the African Handball Confederation, serve as the preeminent showcase for African handball talent.

The tournament has witnessed historical success from Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia in the men’s competition, while Angola has been the dominant force in the women’s event, reflecting the sport’s growing popularity and competitiveness on the continent.

#8 Asian Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Asia
  • πŸ“… Established: 1977 (men), 1987 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: Varies

The Asian Handball Championships, organized by the Asian Handball Federation, serve as a platform for Asian handball nations to showcase their talents.

South Korea leads in both the men’s and women’s competitions, followed closely by Japan and Qatar. The championships have fueled the growth of handball in Asia and fostered intense regional rivalries.

#9 Pan American Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Americas
  • πŸ“… Established: 1979 (men), 1986 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years (men), irregularly (women)
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: Varies

The Pan American Handball Championships, governed by the Pan American Handball Federation, bring together the best national teams from North, Central, and South America.

Brazil has been the dominant force in both men’s and women’s events, followed by Argentina and Cuba. The championships have contributed to the development of handball throughout the Americas.

#10 Mediterranean Games

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies around the Mediterranean
  • πŸ“… Established: 1955 (men), 1983 (women)
  • πŸ‘₯ πŸ”„ Held: Every 4 years
  • Teams: Varies

Handball features in the Mediterranean Games, which offer a competitive platform for countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

France, Spain, and Croatia have excelled in the men’s competition, while Spain, France, and Yugoslavia have dominated the women’s event. The Games facilitate regional cooperation and the sharing of handball expertise among Mediterranean nations.

#11 Handball at the Summer Universiade

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1961 (men), 1993 (women)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: Varies

The Summer Universiade, organized by the International University Sports Federation, includes handball as one of its disciplines.

Focused on promoting sports among university students, the competition provides a global stage for young handball talent. Romania has been particularly successful in the men’s event, while South Korea leads in the women’s competition.

#12 IHF Super Globe

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1997
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 8 club teams

The IHF Super Globe is an annual international club handball competition managed by the International Handball Federation.

Providing a platform for the strongest club teams from around the world to compete, the tournament bolsters the handball community and showcases the best club handball has to offer. Spanish club FC Barcelona Handbol holds the most titles.

#13 IHF World Women’s Handball Championship

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1957
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 2 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 24 national teams

The IHF World Women’s Handball Championship, organized by the IHF, highlights the best women’s national teams in handball. Russia has been extremely successful, with four titles, closely followed by Norway and Denmark.

The competition has seen an evolution in format, reflecting the growing popularity and competitiveness of women’s handball.

#14 World University Handball Championship

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1960
  • πŸ”„ Held: Irregularly
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: Varies

The World University Handball Championship, under the governance of the International University Sports Federation, is an international handball competition for university teams.

The championship promotes handball among college students and provides the opportunity for young athletes to compete on an international stage. Numerous countries have had success in this competition, showcasing handball’s global appeal.

#15 Eredivisie (The Netherlands)

  • πŸ“ Location: The Netherlands
  • πŸ“… Established: 1956
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 18 club teams

The Eredivisie, the Netherlands’ top handball league, has produced renowned talents such as Kees Akerboom Sr. and Harrie Weerman. Limburg Lions lead with multiple titles.

Known for its focus on youth development and impressive talent pool, the league is a crucial part of Dutch handball. Prominent clubs include OCI-LIONS and KRAS/Volendam.

#16 Handball-Bundesliga (Germany)

  • πŸ“ Location: Germany
  • πŸ“… Established: 1966
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 18 club teams

The Handball-Bundesliga is Germany’s premier handball league, featuring top clubs such as THW Kiel and SG Flensburg-Handewitt. THW Kiel holds the record for the most titles.

Known for its passionate fans and intense rivalries, the league has established itself as one of the strongest domestic handball competitions in the world.

#17 Liga ASOBAL (Spain)

  • πŸ“ Location: Spain
  • πŸ“… Established: 1990
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 16 club teams

Liga ASOBAL represents the pinnacle of Spanish club handball, featuring legendary teams such as FC Barcelona Handbol and BM Granollers. With numerous titles, FC Barcelona Handbol is the most successful team in the league’s history.

The league has been instrumental in developing Spanish handball talents, fostering intense rivalries, and promoting handball across the country.

#18 Ligue Nationale de Handball (France)

  • πŸ“ Location: France
  • πŸ“… Established: 1952
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 14 club teams

The Ligue Nationale de Handball, also known as LNH Starligue, is the top domestic handball league in France. Montpellier Handball and Paris Saint-Germain Handball are among the most successful teams in the competition.

The league has been vital in nurturing local talent and boosting the sport’s popularity in France.

#19 Handball Liga Austria (Austria)

  • πŸ“ Location: Austria
  • πŸ“… Established: 1961
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 10 club teams

The Handball Liga Austria is the highest-level handball league in Austria. Alpla HC Hard and SG Handball West Wien are among the most successful clubs in the league.

Known for its competitive spirit and commitment to fostering local talent, the Austrian league plays a significant role in developing handball in the country.

#20 Eliteserien (Norway)

  • πŸ“ Location: Norway
  • πŸ“… Established: 1966
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: 14 club teams

The Eliteserien is Norway’s top-tier handball league, featuring strong clubs such as Elverum Handball, Drammen HK, and Haslum HK. Elverum Handball has been particularly successful in recent years.

The league has contributed significantly to the growth and promotion of handball in Norway, while also serving as a breeding ground for future international stars.

Handball

FAQ

What is the most important handball tournament?

The IHF World Handball Championships are the most prestigious handball tournaments, commanding participation from top national teams worldwide.

What is the oldest handball tournament?

The Summer Olympic Games, which included handball as of 1936, is the oldest handball tournament.

What is the hardest handball tournament to win?

The IHF World Handball Championships are considered the toughest to win, with intense competition from high-performing national handball teams globally.

I'm a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. I run stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton, took part in the German Mini Golf Championships, started learning 'real' Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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