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#TheTeamFiles: Belgium (IKF WKC 2019)

Superpower aiming to return to korfball’s top level

Belgium has always been a superpower of international korfball, contesting the final of every IKF World Korfball Championship since the first tournament in 1978. They also, of course, hold the honour of being the only team to ever deny the Netherlands a gold medal in the historic 1991 tournament.

However, over the past two years the previous script has changed, first at the World Games 2017 when Chinese Taipei beat The Diamonds in a dramatic though ultimately convincing semi-final, then even more surprisingly in the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018 when first Germany then Portugal won out over Belgium to deprive the traditional favourite of even a place on the podium.

Those results have seen Belgium slip from number two to number three in the IKF rankings.

As the director of Koninklijke Belgische Korfbalbond (KBKB) responsible for all national teams, and leader of the Belgian delegation in Durban, Yves Daelmans admits those results have stung.

“We went through the previous period, leading up to the latest IKF WKC in 2015, hosted in our own country, which was magnificent. At that tournament we saw some nice results, a large fanbase and a very good final with the support of King Philippe. However, we could not continue this success, obtaining some negative results during the recent World Games and IKF EKC.

“Through the past few months we have been building a new team. Their main goal is to do much better than we achieved at these most recent championships,” says Yves.

Will that motivation be enough to raise Belgium back to their habitual position on the podium, or will the encouragement that challenging teams will surely gain from seeing their previous invincibility undermined prove stronger?

Image by Marco Spelten

Team Belgium – Image by Marco Spelten

Yves says The Diamonds’ preparations started at the end of last year.

“First we participated in the Korfball Challenge in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, starting to rebuild the team. During the first quarter of this year the number of training sessions for the national team was relatively low. In Belgium during those months, all the focus goes to the intensive last part of the indoor championship, which requires our players to commit to multiple weekly training sessions with their clubs.

“As of April though, The Diamonds have been able to gather at least weekly for a series of trainings and matches against top teams in The Netherlands, and our training programme continues right through until our departure for South Africa,” he says.

That included a practice game against England on 20 July in Antwerp. More meaningfully, the two teams meet again in an official match in pool play on 3 August in Durban.

“With all respect to the other teams in our pool, Hong Kong and Slovakia, England is ranked closest to Belgium and that last game in the first round will the most interesting one for us. That will be where we can prove to ourselves, and everyone else, that we have moved on from our disappointing results of the past two years,” he says.

In June star player David Peeters retired from international korfball, so will not be wearing the famous red shirt in Durban. While they will miss him, Yves says the emphasis now is on the whole team.

“Nowadays the way we play korfball puts a lot of importance on being the best at all positions on the pitch. That means no individuals are in the spotlight. Instead, the team performance is the key focus. Besides some familiar faces, the spectators will get to know some new attractive young players for whom this will be their first major championship.

“That is exciting for them, though most of them have already performed multiple times in national youth selections, from U17 up to U21, so they are not completely new to international korfball, and are very eager to go to Durban.”

Whether their passion, fighting spirit and the new emphasis on being one team is sufficient to redeem The Diamonds, and return them to global korfball’s top level, promises to be one of the most intriguing stories of the IKF WKC 2019.

#TeamBEL IKF WKC 2019

1: Maite Dewinter
3: Lauren Denis
5: Shiara Driesen
6: Liesbet Bollaerts
7: Julie Caluwe
8: Tess Mathis
9: Saar Seys
12: Jarre De Ley
13: Brent Struyf
14: Jonas Lemmens
15: Nick Verwerft
16: Lars Courtens
17: Jordan De Vogelaere
20: Jari Hardies

Coaches: Detlef Elewaut, Johannis Shot
Manager: Christiane (Chris) Van Riet
Team leader: Yves Daelmans
Physiotherapists: Kevin Ongena, Marc Vyt

#TeamBEL on social media:

► facebook.com/KBKB1921
► twitter.com/korfbalbe
► instagram.com/korfbalbe

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Australia (IKF WKC 2019)

New Australian generation striving to beat the challenge of distance

Australia arrives in Durban with the IKF’s number ten ranking. They have played at every IKF WKC since 1984, including 1995 when they narrowly missed out on the bronze medal. More recently, Australia won bronze at the IKF Asia Oceania Korfball Championships 2018 a year after securing a creditable sixth placing at the World Games 2017.

However, this tournament is part of a rebuild for Australian korfball, with only one player back from the World Games squad, and a new coach. Almost two decades after he started coaching Australia, Phil Sibbons stepped down following last year’s IKF AOKC. Tim Miller, whose playing career included the IKF WKC 1995, took over and started preparing his new squad in January.

Tim sets Australia’s aspirations in Durban in context:

“Our goal is to play an exciting brand of korfball that gives us the best opportunity to finish as high as possible in our pool. Ultimately, we want to continue to develop and to compete with those countries that have far greater access to regular international korfball than we do in Australia,” he says.

Distance is always the biggest challenge for Australian korfball development, both the distance to international tournaments, and the distance separating korfball communities within the country.

“South Australia is historically our main korfball region; ten of our current squad call Adelaide home, though the recent development of new korfball communities in New South Wales and Victoria sees three players from those states on the plane to South Africa. We also have one player based in London and another based in the Netherlands. Integrating them into our preparation programme is difficult. For example, for Ben Wallace and Lauren Charlton, our Newcastle players, traveling to prepare with the squad in Adelaide is a significant commitment. Their quickest journey is a train to Sydney then a flight to Adelaide, taking in total about six and a half hours, while the cheapest way would be a 16 hour car journey. As a reference, the flight time from Lisbon, Portugal to Moscow, Russia is five and a half hours.

“As a result, 30 July, in Durban, will be the first day our entire squad is together in one place.

Team Australia

Team Australia

“All that effort is well worthwhile though, particularly for those based in New South Wales and Victoria, who will carry invaluable experience home with them to help progress their local korfball,” says Tim.

Family ties provide the threads that bind many korfball communities together. Australia is no different. Australia’s IKF WKC 2019 squad contains five siblings from two families: Andrew and Emily Hutchesson; and Lauren, Georgia and Nik Bungey, with the latter family having a particularly strong korfball heritage, as Tim explains.

“Sharyn and Bruce Bungey represented Australia in the very first Australian team. Sharyn played in the IKF WKC of 1984, 1987 and 1991. Bruce coached Australia in 1987 and 1991, and then again in 1999, having refereed in the 1995 event. Sharyn is also our squad manager for this tournament. Having Lauren, Georgia and Nik in our squad is another chapter in the story.

“Siblings in the team is a common occurrence for Australian korfball. At the IKF U23 AOKC 2015 we actually had four sets of siblings representing Australia,” he said.

London-based squad member Tamika Zilm also has a strong Australian korfball lineage, with her father Mark playing international korfball in the past, as well as serving at the Korfball Australia chair.

Tim is looking forward to seeing Jeffrey Vlietstra settle in. Born and based in the Netherlands, where he plays for KV Viko, Jeffrey’s mother was born in Australia.

“Jeffrey brings a wealth of korfball experience that his new Australian teammates are keen to share,” says Tim.

Adding Jeffrey’s experience to the mix will be part of the fun for Tim in Durban.

“Like every other team, we want to secure the highest possible ranking. Margins can be fine at the WKC, with the difference between finishing top eight, compared to a much lower final placing, difficult to determine. I know my players are fearless, support each other to the end, and know how to enjoy themselves. I’m sure we will play with pride, and leave the tournament with smiles on our faces,” he says.

#TeamAUS IKF WKC 2019

1: Jazz Zulfic
3: Emily Hutchesson
4: Lauren Bungey
5: Tamika Zilm
6: Nicholas Bungey
7: Lauren Charlton
8: Zac Marshall
9: Georgia Bungey
10: Cameron Mclean
11: Benjamin Wallace
13: Amy Kubank
14: Andrew Hutchesson
16: Bethan Channing
17: Jeffrey Vlietstra
18: Greg Perry

Coach: Tim Miller
Managers: Sharyn Bungey, Kristina Marshall

#TeamAUS on social media:

► facebook.com/Korfball-Australia-365371480145840
► twitter.com/KorfballAus
► instagram.com/korfballaustralia

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Suriname (IKF WKC 2019)

Suriname’s unique journey built on love and bold ambition

Suriname’s journey to the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019 has been unique, and the team’s progress will be closely watched by everyone interested in international korfball.

Suriname was an IKF member in the past, though never attended a WKC, and after korfball in the small South American republic dwindled to nothing about 20 years ago, the country’s formal membership of the international korfball community was discontinued. That changed a few years ago, when several Dutch korfballers with Surinamese heritage started talking to each other. Ivan Karsters was one of that group, which also included Sharvien Sahai and Gerald van Dijk. What started then will take the three of them and the squad they have built to South Africa, as Ivan explains.

“Sharvien and I took a trip to Suriname to talk with the government about our plans, seeking approval to play under our flag, to create the federation and set up a team. We started the federation for love of our country. Our long term goal is to bring korfball back to Suriname,” he says.

To reach that goal, they recruited a team, drawing on korfball players living in the north, west and south of the Netherlands.

“Some are born in Suriname and others have Surinamese roots from their parents or grandparents. We all grew up in the Netherlands and have all played korfball for many years in the Dutch competition.

“Gerald van Dijk and Nisha Verwey both enjoyed success playing at the highest level. Gerald represented the Netherlands in international korfball, and scored more than 1000 goals in his Korfball League career. He recently announced he will return to AKC Blauw-wit next season. Several of the rest of us have also played in the Korfball League, while the other members of our squad play at just below that level,” says Ivan.

From initially setting up the team, the Suriname players crowd funded and used their own resources to travel to Cali, Colombia and compete in the IKF Pan American Korfball Championship last year. With Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic also striving for the prize in Cali, Suriname defeated them all to claim qualification to the IKF WKC 2019. Victory also won Suriname recognition as the World Games Team of the Month for March 2018.

In December 2018, Suriname participated in the Korfball Challenge, in Rotterdam, performing credibly against top Korfball League and international teams. Their preparations have continued in the Netherlands through to the eve of the IKF WKC.

Among plenty of leaders in the squad, Suriname captain on the field is Randell van der Steen.

“He always has that fighting spirit, just like I do,” says Ivan, who, at 36 is the oldest in the team, and one of the oldest at the WKC.

After providing much of the motivation to establish the youngest national federation at this tournament, Ivan is looking forward to showing the korfball world what Suriname can do in Durban, which will mark the end of his playing career.

“Although there have been many ups and downs to reach this point, I am happy that the first steps have been taken and we are well on the way to our long term goal of bringing korfball back to Suriname. Our results are important to make this plan a success.

“We started the federation for love of our country. While we are a family and play with respect, we also have heart and a fighter’s mentality. We are the first national team in Suriname’s history to make it to a world championship, in any sport, ever. We want to show the power we give each other on and off the field. We are here and we will show the world that Suriname is a serious contender.

“Our main goal at the WKC is to qualify for the World Games 2021. We want to make our country proud. We would really like to leave Durban with a medal around our necks,” he says.

#TeamSUR IKF WKC 2019

1: Jaleesa Claver
2: Isaura Hilgen
3: Shera Desaunois
4: Susila De Klein
5: Nisha Verwey
6: Michelle Brouwer
7: Dominique Van Der Stelt
8: Stephanie Brewster
9: Vikash Mahadew Missier
10: Wayne Stienstra
11: Vladimir Slot
12: Sharvien Sahai
13: Gerald Van Dijk
14: Ivan Karsters
15: Randell Van Der Steen
16: Ariën Van Den Berg

Coach: Dico Dik
Manager: Albert Nijenhuis
Officials: Robert Luttik, Theo Rouffaer

#TeamSUR on social media:

► facebook.com/surinamekorf
► instagram.com/sukorfbal

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Slovakia (IKF WKC 2019)

Long wait ends for Slovakia

Slovakia most recently participated at the IKF World Korfball Championship in 2003 when they finished thirteenth, and prior to that in 1995 when they finished tenth.

After the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018 it seemed Slovakia’s dream of a third appearance in the WKC had ended in tears, when Ireland seized victory in the last few minutes of the ranking match between the two that decided the final qualification place for this year’s tournament in Durban. However, as Martin Sonoga, president of Slovenská Asociácia Korfbalu explains, they stayed positive.

“Of course, it was disappointing to finish one place out of qualification in October. However, there were always rumours about teams not being able to find the financial resources to travel to South Africa, or being withheld from participating for political reasons. So we never gave up hope.

“Then, shortly before Christmas, the invitation came. We had five weeks to make the final decision and sort out our options. Pressure came on the management to find the substantial budget required. Although we succeeded with the money, the situation briefly became more complicated when the Dominican Republic came back into play. However, they were incapable of seizing their chance, which was unfortunate for them, though fantastic for Slovakia,” he says.

Sixteen years is a long break between tournaments at this level. Martin says most of the players who represented Slovakia in 2003 have now retired from active korfball.

Team Slovakia

Team Slovakia

“For the previous generation, the final international tournament was the IKF EKC 2014 in Portugal, which ended in disappointment for us, with fourteenth place. Since then we have rebuilt our national team from scratch.

“We have made progress at youth levels. Slovakia is now participating regularly at U15 and U17 international events, and we have built up a regular competition in our own country in five youth categories. That is showing some encouraging progress, and the future is positive,” he says.

Slovak korfball is built around two major clubs: SKK Dolphins Prievidza and KK SPU Nitra. Former Russia international Sergey Nizovskiy, who played for his country during the years when Russian korfball was at its most powerful, coached Russia in 2016, and also had a spell in Belgian club korfball, has been Slovakia national team coach since June 2018.

“We are on the right path with Sergey at the helm, and the players are responding well to his coaching.

“Most of our national squad have been playing korfball for several years, some as their primary sport, a few coming through korfball or basketball academies.

“Team Slovakia has been preparing for the IKF WKC for around three months, though the core of the team has been together since the IKF EKC in the Netherlands last year. We hope that everybody will have a hell of a time and the tournament will be a major success. Our aim is to be competitive in all our matches and show a good level of korfball, even against the teams that are seeded much higher. Beyond that, hopefully we can win some of the matches that matter most in the later stages of the tournament,” says Martin.

If they can do that, Slovakia should defend or improve their current IKF ranking, which places them at number 17.

#TeamSVK IKF WKC 2019

3: Janka Miklovicova
4: Lujza Mojzisova
5: Zuzana Busikova
6: Eva Busikova
7: Andrea Fialova
9: Martin Pruzinec
10: Martin Hlavac
11: Bohuslav Majorsky
12: Peter Busik
13: Robert Mojzis
14: Peter Fabik
16: Simon Horvath

Coach: Sergey Nizovskiy
Manager: Tomas Sonnenschein
Official: Tibor Holota

#TeamSVK on social media:

► facebook.com/Slovenský-korfbal-Slovak-Korfball-175918582452761
► instagram.com/slovakkorfbal

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: New Zealand (IKF WKC 2019)

New Zealand korfball prospering with Dutch influence

Manon Wiegerink played in the Korfball League for TOP and Blauw-wit for seven seasons, retiring from the Blauw-wit selection in 2018. She has now taken on a new challenge, coaching New Zealand, guiding the team to qualify for the World Korfball Championship for the first time by finishing sixth at the IKF Asia Oceania Korfball Championship 2018, in Japan.

She says, compared to the korfball culture she grew up in in The Netherlands, New Zealand is very different.

“Korfball is relatively small and unknown in New Zealand, so funding for the squad is difficult, and because it is so far away from most other korfball countries, the costs are high. Unlike in Europe, we don’t have other clubs or teams to play nearby. Playing against our nearest neighbour, Australia, is a three hour flight. Even using the hall for training, which most korfballers in the Netherlands take for granted, in New Zealand we have to fit in with established sports, like basketball, football and volleyball, and take the times that they don’t want for games and training.

“That means the players have to make a big financial commitment to play for their country. They have to be motivated and dedicated to do that, which helps to create a powerful team culture and strong bonds of friendship,” she says.

Manon is only one part of the local korfball community’s Dutch influence. Two members of the squad took a leap of faith and put their hearts into New Zealand korfball development. Torsten Ball was born in New Zealand, though his mother is Dutch and the family moved to the Netherlands when Torsten was four, starting with his local korfball club, in Woudenberg, soon after. He returned to New Zealand in 2015 doing a ten month korfball-related internship as part of his sports management degree, introducing korfball to local primary school children. That programme has gone from strength to strength since, with another Dutch korfballer, Youri Borrink from DOS’46, which has strong ties with New Zealand, taking over from Torsten in 2016. Youri has now settled in New Zealand and is eligible to represent his adopted country in Durban, while Torsten, after finishing his studies, is also living back in New Zealand, working again on the korfball development programme in local schools, and preparing with the squad.

Several of the other New Zealand players are physical education teachers, so as well as training, are also busy helping to recruit their students to join the local korfball community’s next generation.

New Zealand took part in the ZZU Cup, in Zhengzhou, China in early June. Eight international teams were there, including the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei and China. Manon was satisfied with the team’s performance.

“It was good preparation for us. Our best game was our ‘final’ when we played Hong Kong for fifth place. We had the lead for most of the match, though it was always close and at the final whistle it was 22-22, so we went to golden goal. Each team had about four attacks, without success, so it was very tense, then eventually our captain, Bevan Lawson, managed to put away the golden goal,” she says.

It was the first time New Zealand has beaten Hong Kong at senior level, and a step up for the country ranked number 16 to defeat a nation ranked five places higher.

Adding to the squad that secured qualification in Saitama, several members of the 2018 New Zealand U19 squad, who finished ninth at last year’s IKF (Open) European Korfball Championship U19, and seriously tested both Portugal and Catalunya, will make the trip to Durban. One in particular has a strong korfball heritage, and yet more ties to the Netherlands: Boris van Bruchem was born in New Zealand a few months after his parents, Ewout and Liesbeth, who met playing korfball, emigrated from Rotterdam. The van Bruchem family is heavily involved in New Zealand’s growing korfball community, carrying on a legacy with the sport that includes Boris’s late grandmother, Adrie van Bruchem, who served for many years as the first professional administrator of the IKF in the 1980s and 1990s, and who was awarded the IKF Badge of Honour in 1995.

#TeamNZL IKF WKC 2019

1: Juliet Robertson
5: Kelsey Forward
6: Megan Shea
7: Sarah Bateup
8: Nicole Lloyd
10: Talesha Brooks
14: Chelsea Ruiz
16: Bevan Lawson
21: Tosten Ball
22: Simon Cooper
26: Youri Borrink
27: Carl Chung
28: Sam Bennetts
29: Boris Van Bruchem

Coach: Manon Wiegerink
Assistant coach: Pascal Van Massakkers
Manager: Helen Timms
Physiotherapist: Norma Snoek

#TeamNZL on social media:

► facebook.com/NZKorfTeam
► instagram.com/korfballnewzealand
► instagram.com/korfballnzseniors

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Poland (IKF WKC 2019)

Top ten the goal for determined Poland

Poland first participated in the IKF Korfball World Championship in 1999, when they finished in ninth place. Ever present in all four tournaments since, they have not managed a better placing, and currently stand at number 13 in the IKF rankings.

Tamara Siemieniuk first played international korfball in 2008 when she was selected in Poland’s U16 team, before graduating to her first senior international tournament, the IKF European Korfball Championship 2014, in Portugal. She jokes that she has been involved in korfball in Poland since before she was born: her mother Elżbieta Siemieniuk was one of the pioneers of Polish korfball when the sport was first established in 1987, and a founder member of Polski Związek Korfballu, or PZKorf, in 1994. Tamara will represent her country again in Durban, and says the squad is looking forward to a positive tournament.

“We are an optimistic squad with good team spirit. Our general aim is to achieve a better final placing than our ranking. However, we truly believe we can make it into the top 10,” she says.

Tamara and two squad mates, Klaudia Majchrzak and Kacper Nowak, have each developed themselves as korfballers by spending time in the Netherlands in recent years, Tamara and Klaudia with LDODK and Kacper with Noviomagum.

Roelof Koopmans has been coach of the Polish national team since 2016. He has previously played and coached for several clubs in and around Friesland, including Nic, AVO Assen and DOS’46. In the past three years he has led the team, flying approximately once a month to Warsaw or Wrocław for games or training camps. He says the big difference he notices in Poland compared to the Netherlands is the size of the korfball community.

Team Poland

Team Poland

“Poland is a big land with lovely people. I believe we can make big changes in the future.

“However, with only around 50 senior players, korfball in Poland is small. That makes it difficult to plan for development. Even with a good plan, we need more people to make korfball bigger. I encourage my players to train harder and accept more responsibility for everything connected to Polish korfball. With a good plan and more people taking responsibility, korfball in Poland can and will grow,” he says.

They are already rising, reaching the final of the IKF EKC 2016 First Round, East in Nitra, Slovakia shortly after Roelof took over as coach, and winning bronze at the IKF Beach Korfball World Cup (Europe) 2018 in Blankenberge, Belgium, which Roelof rates as the biggest success in Polish korfball history.

Poland’s ninth placing a few weeks later at the IKF EKC 2018 set up qualification for South Africa.

One player whose story inspires her team mates, and everyone else, is Izabela Kołodziejczyk. In June 2016 following a routine medical check, Iza found out she had a tumour on one of her ovaries. After four months of treatment, which included an operation and chemotherapy, she was clear of the cancer. Determined to recover her fitness, and her place in Poland’s national team, Iza threw herself back into korfball, the gym and crossfit. She succeeded, and less than a year later was selected for the team when Poland hosted the World Games, in Wrocław, in July 2017.

Although Poland finished last in that eight team tournament, they were competitive in several of their matches, and the experience of playing against the world’s best was a boost for Polish korfball.

Like many of the other teams they will be up against in Durban, Poland’s national squad members are involved with the development activities of PZKorf.

“When we had the World Games here, we helped to promote korfball and the event. Some players give korfball lessons and clinics to children in schools, while others coach at their clubs. We also go to well-known localities to promote korfball to the public. PZKorf took another big step forward and is going to organise the EKC Group B in 2020, which will help add to our promotion,” said Tamara.

Looking ahead, Roelof sees that tournament as a chance for a medal.

“I hope I will still be coach next year. It would be fantastic to win a tournament with Poland. It should and could give korfball a big boost,” he said.

#TeamPOL IKF WKC 2019

1: Tamara Siemieniuk
2: Izabela Kołodziejczyk
3: Martyna Sowińska
6: Daria Diadik
7: Klaudia Majchrzak
8: Natalia Klimczyk
9: Łukasz Karpiuk
10: Rafał Diadik
12: Adam Doroszuk
13: Kamil Musialiński
14: Krzysztof Rubinkowski
16: Kacper Nowak
18: Katarzyna Tomczyk
19: Kamil Nowacki

Coach: Roelof Koopmans
Manager: Iwona Żak
Officials: Maciej Żak, Elżbieta Siemieniuk, Jacques Du Preez

#TeamPOL on social media:

► facebook.com/pzkorf
► instagram.com/korfball_poland

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: The Netherlands (IKF WKC 2019)

Defending champion inspired by global progress

 

One team will be the undoubted favourite for the gold medal at the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019: The Netherlands, or TeamNL Korfbal as they are branded, consistent with other national sports representatives under the Dutch Olympic Committee and National Sports Federation (NOC*NSF).

Dealing with their own expectations, and those of their supporters, is a particular challenge for the team.

KNKV director Kees Rodenburg manages the TeamNL programme within the federation. He says the players embrace the responsibilities they carry for the greater good of korfball.

“Although The Netherlands is the home of korfball, we like nothing more than taking on the rest of the world. Our players are aware that the whole global korfball community knows who we are, and is watching us intently. To play for TeamNL Korfbal, they need to take on that role, and to relish being the centre of attention.

“We realise we are ambassadors for korfball. Our players need to show their passion, display their enthusiasm, and by doing that with joy, to encourage the world to fall in love with them,” he says.

TeamNL Korfbal spent four days in Barcelona in July leading up to the WKC, while a few weeks earlier the squad was in China successfully defending the title they won last year at the inaugural Eurasian Korfball Competition in Zhengzhou, defeating world second ranked Chinese Taipei in the final. Their preparations concluded in Papendal, the Olympic training centre, ahead of the flight to Durban.

Image by Marco Spelten

Image by Marco Spelten

 

“There is nothing better than to see what is going on elsewhere in global korfball. We experienced the development in China recently, where excellent foundations have been laid for our sport to take off right throughout Asia. Meanwhile, closer to home, seeing how the Surinamese community in the Netherlands has taken their national korfball team to heart, with the support the new federation has generated, makes Suriname one of the outstanding stories at this WKC. Not forgetting the remarkable achievements of Germany and Portugal, to both make the podium at the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018, all of which sets us up for a thrilling IKF WKC 2019.

“We have the big advantage that our players play in the Korfbal League, the best korfball club competition in the world. How great would it be if good players from abroad come and play in The Netherlands,” he says.

Although TeamNL Korfbal has lost the services of superstar Suzanne Struik, who retired from international korfball following the IKF EKC last year, and a record 69 international appearances since 2006, there is no shortage of fresh Dutch korfball talent set to light up this tournament: Marloes Frieswijk, Fleur Hoek, Olav van Wijngaarden and Harjan Visscher are among the nine TeamNL players attending their first WKC, adding to the experience of the likes of established superstars Celeste Split, Marjolijn Kroon, Mick Snel and Laurens Leeuwenhoek, who will play their third WKC.

Coach Wim Scholtmeijer is also back to guide the TeamNL Korfbal title defence. Despite their perennial success, he says every tournament is a new challenge.

“We always look forward to playing the different countries. Our mission is to stay on top of the world. We see it as our duty to improve in everything we do. We want to improve Dutch korfball so that the clubs, and the other national teams, can look at TeamNL and say ‘Those guys are innovators, we want to be like them.’

“We see that as part of our role, as the World Champion: trying to improve at every level, and providing inspiration to the rest of the korfball world.

“Although The Netherlands has won plenty of titles in the past, this is a new tournament. Our players are happy and enthusiastic to be able to perform with this team, playing the sport they live for with positive energy, friendship and love. They want to show that to the rest of the world in Durban,” says Wim.

#TeamNED IKF WKC 2019

1: Jessica Lokhorst
2: Esther Cordus
3: Barbara Brouwer
4: Marjolijn Kroon
5: Marloes Frieswijk
7: Celeste Split
8: Marjolijn Schenk
9: Fleur Hoek
11: Olav Van Wijngaarden
12: Jordi Pasma
13: Erwin Zwart
14: Harjan Visscher
15: Mick Snel
17: Laurens Leeuwenhoek
18: Nick Pikaar
20: Daan Preuninger

Coach: Wim Scholtmeijer
Manager: Peter Boeren
Officials: Jennifer Tromp, Leon Braunstahl, Ada Jansen

#TeamNED on social media:

► facebook.com/KnkvOranje
► twitter.com/teamnlkorfbal
► instagram.com/teamnlkorfbal

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Macau China (IKF WKC 2019)

With fearless spirit Macau flashing like stars

In the words of a local news report on the team: ‘full of morale and created with fearless spirit, Macau, which is as fine as sand on the world map, can also flash like stars.’

Just to be at the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019 is a huge achievement for Macau, and a bonus as they missed out on automatic qualification with a seventh placing at the IKF Asia Oceania Korfball Championship 2018, receiving an invitation to the tournament in Durban after previous qualifiers Zimbabwe and Dominican Republic withdrew.

This is not only the first time ever that Macau has been at the IKF WKC, it is the first time Macau has attended a world championship in any sport.

Atte van Haastrecht is well known to many in international korfball as the president of Stadskanaal ‘74, which has hosted a tournament for developing korfball nations for the last two decades. He will coach Macau in South Africa. He says his players are enthusiastic, full of energy, and good learners.

“Macau participated in the 2015 Stadskanaal tournament. They stayed a week and asked me to organise some training sessions. After that, they asked me to prepare them for the IKF AOKC 2018 in Japan.

“Last April, I spent 10 days in Macau taking intensive daily training sessions in preparation for the AOKC. We beat Korea 8-7 in our ranking game at the tournament. We were very happy with that, which meant we were number seven for Asia-Oceania, and therefore on the reserve list for the WKC. Our preparation started right after the AOKC in August 2018, so we were ready when the invitation came.

“After our unexpected qualification, as we are ranked number 30 in the world, the lowest of all teams participating, we have to be realistic about our goals for the tournament. We are going to South Africa to learn, and in the second part of the tournament we will try our best to finish higher than place number 20 at this championship,” he said.

Team Macau China

Team Macau China

Macau’s oldest and most experienced player is Michael Chek. Michael, who was selected in the tournament team at the IKF AOKC 2018 in Japan, started playing korfball in 2005, and says he has loved every moment since.

“After playing for 13 years, I had one dream left: playing at a World Championship. Now that dream is about to come true.

“As a team, our aim is to play our best every game, and try to win.

“After the WKC, we will continue to develop actively. Although Macau is a small place, we hope to cultivate more and better players. And we hope the Macau team will be able to qualify for another WKC again in the future,” says Michael.

Most of Macau’s players started playing korfball at university or high school, between the ages of 15 and 18. Almost all squad members take part in activities to promote korfball, giving lessons at primary and secondary schools, and also at university.

As with many developing korfball nations, size is the main difference between korfball in Macau and elsewhere, as Atte explains.

“Macau’s players have no regular competition. There is only one club, Flamingo, and a university team. Sometimes the teams play tournaments or friendly matches against Hong Kong, or other teams. Apart from that, their korfball activity is training, training, training,” he says.

#TeamMAC IKF WKC 2019

1: Choi I Tang
3: Weng Si Sio
5: Ka U Chao
6: Chon Kit Mak
8: Hou Kong Leng
12: Chi Cheng Au
17: Hio Leng Lam
19: Meng Heng Wong
20: Chi On Ho
21: Seng Lam Ao
26: Iok Kun Cheang
33: Io Kei Chek
99: Io Un Lo

Coach: Atte van Haastrecht
Manager: Au Chi Cheng

#TeamMAC on social media:

► facebook.com/MCKA2001

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Japan (IKF WKC 2019)

Japan korfball’s new generation intent on a win

At this year’s tournament in Durban, Japan returns to the IKF Korfball World Championship for the first time since 2003. They also participated four years earlier. In 1999 they finished twelfth out of 12 countries, and four years later they finished sixteenth out of 16, scoring a total of just six goals across the two tournaments.

Their objective in 2019 is simple: to win a game.

Originally from England, Marc Brazzill has been part of the regeneration of Japanese korfball, which traces back to 2012, under Yoshimitsu Tobisa, known throughout korfball as Tobi.

“At that point there were only 11 people playing korfball in Japan. Still, it was enough, and we managed to bring a new team together, in Tokyo, to play in the IKF Asian Korfball Championship 2013, in China, and then the IKF Asia Oceania Korfball Championship 2014, in Hong Kong.

“Of those 11, six of us are still playing and preparing for South Africa, and a seventh was part of the team that ensured we qualified last year,” he says.

Marc was not able to play for Japan initially, using his korfball experience as a coach. Now naturalised, he was eligible to represent his adopted country at the IKF AOKC 2018, which Japan hosted in Saitama, and where they finished fifth to secure IKF WKC qualification.

Also bringing korfball experience from another country, Akiko Tsujikawa will coach Japan in South Africa. Akiko previously played for Hong Kong where she is still heavily involved with korfball, having managed the Hong Kong team at the recent IKF U19 Korfball World Cup 2019, before serving as tournament director for the IKF U21 AOKC in Shaoxing, China, in May. She’s now switched roles again, traveling to Japan for training camps to prepare the team for Durban.

Team Japan

Team Japan – Image by Osamu Kimura

Wearing number 29, Yuki Anzai is one of Japan’s newer stars, and was named in the tournament team at the IKF AOKC in Saitama last year. Marc rates his team mate as one of Japan’s best players.

“Although she is so little, just 1.48m, if she plays well she has a big influence. Yuki was originally a footballer. After finishing university she volunteered on a sports programme in Uzbekistan, run by the Japanese government. When she came home in 2015 she was looking to get back into sports and she came across korfball on social media, did some research, attended a training session, and has never looked back,” he says.

Yuki is also a social media expert, where her skill and engaging personality has helped Japanese korfball to expand. In the last seven years Marc says they have grown the sport into several different cities.

“Back in 2012, when we first started to rebuild, we only had korfball in Tokyo. Since then, we have taken it into six regions, going west along the coast to Nagoya, Osaka and Okayama, as well as further north into Ishikawa. Our national championships, with teams from most of those regions, have definitely grown,” he says.

In South Africa Japan should improve on its current IKF ranking of 24, though is in a challenging pool with Germany, Portugal and the host country. With the core group of the team now into their early 30s, after Durban some personnel changes are likely.

“Tobi stepped down from the national federation last year. We are now focused on strengthening the organisation. Four of us from 2012 are now on the exco. While there are younger players coming through to take the team forward, those of us that have come this far together still plan to be involved, playing for our clubs, and continuing to promote korfball,” says Marc.

#TeamJAP IKF WKC 2019

1: Chisato Tanaka
4: Yu Furuki
7: Ren Nagai
10: Keisuke Mashiba
13: Sho Furuki
14: Miki Watanabe
17: Marc Brazzill
19: Ikuha Nakajo
22: Mayo Oya
23: Hirotaka Kimura
24: Kohei Kaminaga
26: Toru Nakamura
27: Ryo Kato
29: Yuki Anzai

Coach: Sho Furuki
Manager: Akiko Tsujikawa
Officials: Yuichi Takezaki, Kohsuke Fujihara

#TeamJAP on social media:

► facebook.com/korfjp
► twitter.com/Japan_Korfball
► instagram.com/japankorfballassociation

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019

#TheTeamFiles: Ireland (IKF WKC 2019)

Pride in heritage drives Ireland to first ever WKC

Ireland is one of four teams appearing in the IKF World Korfball Championship for the first time.

Finishing tenth at the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018 put Ireland on the plane to South Africa. However, even making it to the final round of the IKF EKC 2018, in Friesland, was a bonus after Ireland finished third at the IKF EKC Round One in Hungary in October 2017, which looked like the end of the road, as vice-captain Sarah Halpin explains.

“We weren’t even meant to be in the competition, though Russia dropped out at the last minute, so we were invited in as first reserve. We had little time to prepare and the squad had changed over the years, so for many of us competing at this level was new: we had five players making their international debut in Friesland.

“Knowing the teams that were there, we thought we could do better than expected, and qualifying for the WKC was always the goal,” she says.

Losing their EKC pool games against France then Slovakia made the task that much more difficult for Ireland, especially as the match against France was lost by golden goal. However, a crucial cross-over match against neighbours, friends and close rivals Scotland resulted in a close and morale boosting win for Ireland, which set up a re-match against Slovakia.

Sarah reckons the loss in the pool game a few days earlier added even more tension.

“We went goal for goal for most of the match and were one down at half time. We only really pulled away in the last quarter, going three goals up with three minutes to go, to win 13-9. It was a very tight game with every player fighting for every ball. We knew we had to stay focused until the end or we would lose; Slovakia is too good a team to let them have any chances.

“Ireland has a history of losing games either in the last few minutes or on golden goal, which has lost us qualification before. None of us could believe what was happening until the final whistle. Then came the elation. And the tears,” she says.

Team Ireland

Team Ireland

On the final day the play-off for ninth place, ended in a comfortable win for Poland, though with both teams already assured of qualification, that was of little consequence for Ireland.

“Even though we felt we deserved to be there, to have even played in the EKC after initially missing out on qualification was just the best feeling. To actually make it to the WKC was amazing, and testament to the hard work of the players and coaching staff over the years,” says Sarah.

After hard work earned the journey to Durban, that journey has become part of Ireland’s fitness and fundraising efforts.

“Our squad ran, cycled and swam the distance from Dublin to Durban over six weeks. That’s 9,930 kilometres, which is 620 kilometres each. It has definitely kept our fitness levels up and has been a good fun competition within the squad,” says Sarah.

Although korfball is not played in Ireland, that is the ultimate dream for the players who wear the country’s colours.

“Almost all of us live in the United Kingdom and play for teams that compete in England’s national league. We are spread out across the UK and train in various locations.

“We hope the WKC will be a good opportunity to kick-start korfball in Ireland.

“Although we have received numerous enquiries from potential players in Ireland, we do not have the necessary funding to set-up regular korfball in the country, so as yet have been unable to develop the sport there any further. Our players entirely fund themselves, and any development in Ireland would also have to be paid for by the players. For now, in the squad we are hugely proud of our Irish heritage, which allows us to represent the nation from abroad,” says Sarah.

Look out for that pride when the Irish national anthem plays ahead of the WKC’s first match on 1 August, before Ireland meets world number two Chinese Taipei.

#TeamIRL IKF WKC 2019

1: Stewart McConvery
2: Charley Lewis
3: Lizzie Tighe
4: Jess Black
5: Emma Denton
6: Konstandinos Tritsarolis
8: Ashley Yates
9: Shay Conroy
10: James Norman-Carter
11: Sarah Halpin
12: Niall Sheekey
15: Nora Goodridge
16: Abby Golding
17: Hannah Goodridge
23: Terry Forde
31: Sam Galvin

Head Coach: Kees Verhoeven
Coach: Terry Forde
Manager: Nora Goodridge

#TeamIRL on social media:

► facebook.com/irekorf
► twitter.com/korfballireland
► instagram.com/korfballireland

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
www.ikf.org/?p=6667
Official websites 
 ► www.korfball.sport ► www.ikfwkc2019.com

Follow all the championship also on social media visiting the following IKF profiles:
► facebook.com/korfball.org
► twitter.com/korfball
► instagram.com/korfball_org

More info and special content can be found on LOC’s tournament profiles:
► facebook.com/ikfwkc2019
► twitter.com/ikfwkc2019
► instagram.com/ikfwkc2019