#TheTeamFiles: England (IKF WKC 2019)

Passion, skill and unity drive England in top six quest

England has featured in every IKF World Korfball Championship, playing as Great Britain before 2007. They won the bronze medal in 1987 and 1999, finished fourth in 2015, and have never finished outside the top eight. This year their main goal is to finish in the top six, and therefore secure a place at the World Games 2021, Birmingham, USA.

This will be the third IKF WKC for Neala Brennan, in a squad where most of the players have had plenty of korfball together, as she explains.

“Most of us started at school age, either through local clubs or through primary school. Many of the players have grown up playing for the same club team, whether it’s in Norwich, London or Kent. Most of our players have been part of England squads from U14 through to senior level.

“We have a number of younger players coming through the age groups. One exciting female player to watch is Ayishah Chaudry, who is only 19 years old. Ayishah combines speed and athleticism with the ability to read the game, which is a great combination, and she will be a terrific asset for England.

“One of our more experienced players to watch for is Davesh Patel. He has had one of his best seasons and is on great form for the IKF WKC,” she says.

More important than individuals, though, Neala believes the way the squad as a whole handles the overall challenge will determine their success at the IKF WKC 2019.

“I always think the biggest pressure at important tournaments is the ability to play well for a number of games. For teams to be successful the players have to handle the stressful situations. They need to perform at their best and actually turn up and play good korfball. If we focus on one game at a time, that will help us to perform. However, we also have some very experienced players in the team, who will lead the way,” she says.

Team England

Team England

Neala characterises England’s team, coached at this tournament by long term international player Rob Williams, as passionate, skillful and united.

“Since February we have combined England training with our league training and games. Since the domestic season finished in June, we have increased the intensity and frequency of our training, using whole squad training at weekends, while area groups train together during the week,” she says.

That commitment comes with sacrifice, which Neala would like to see more generously rewarded.

“In common with many squads at the tournament, most of our players would love to have greater recognition of the commitment of time, hard work and finances that go into playing international korfball. More widely shared financial support, or greater sponsorship for players and federations in countries whose governments provide no funding, would lead to more competitive tournaments and increased prestige and participation in korfball,” she says.

England will play Hong Kong, Slovakia and Belgium in their pool, with their match against their European rival and neighbour on the third day shaping as one of the most eagerly awaited pool games as the IKF third ranked team goes up against number six.

“We always look forward to playing Belgium, especially with it being so close last year, when they beat us 22-17 at the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018. We are looking forward to seeing what our new squad can do against them, and how we compare,” she says.

#TeamENG IKF WKC 2019

2: Shannon Jones
5: Heather Ikwuemesi
6: Heather Stokes
7: Charles Vogwill
8: Adele Mitchell
9: Ayishah Chaudry
10: Neala Brennan
14: Blake Palfreyman
15: Paul Debenham
16: Davesh Patel
17: Robert Williams
18: Kieron Hicks
20: Emma Bryant
22: Joshua Rowe
24: Beatrice Cutts

Coach: Robert Williams
Manager: Beatrice Cutts
Assistant Coach: Kees Vlietstra

#TeamENG on social media:

► facebook.com/EnglandKorfball
► twitter.com/EnglandKorfball
► instagram.com/englandkorfballofficial

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
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: Portugal (IKF WKC 2019)

Recent triumphs energise Portugal

Portugal goes to the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019 buoyed up by two recent significant achievements. Last October, in Friesland, they overcame Belgium to win bronze by the narrowest margin at the IKF European Korfball Championship; then in July this year they climbed right to the top of the podium, winning the IKF Beach Korfball World Cup (Europe) 2019.

Rui Malcata is assistant coach for Portugal. He says the recent success provides the team with a good springboard towards their main goal in South Africa, which is qualification for the World Games 2021, Birmingham, USA.

“Defeating Belgium last year and winning the bronze medal was a special day. It fulfilled a dream we have held for many years. Going into that match, we wanted to leave a good image of Portugal, to show ourselves as a pressing team in defence, and patient in the attack, facing our opponent eye to eye, without fear.

“Throughout the IKF EKC, we thought we might have a chance to win against Belgium. On the day of the match we knew it was going to be difficult, though not impossible,” he says.

Portugal hung close behind The Diamonds throughout the first half, then managed to secure then hold a slender lead through most of the second, eventually grinding down their historically superior opponent by clinging to a one goal lead for the last 1.21 minutes. It was an emotional finale for the team and obviously a tough experience for Belgium to finish a major tournament without a medal.

To follow that up a few months later with a gold medal on the sand in France has made the last few months a high point in the history of Portuguese korfball, says Rui.

“Representing our country with honour and pride, and becoming World Champion by defeating The Netherlands was something sensational. Although they are completely separate competitions, what we achieved at the EKC and then on the beach showed that Portugal belongs among the best in korfball. Ahead of the IKF WKC the bar is high. Our whole team is focused on the mission, with commitment, unity and humility.

“Of course, we realise that each competition is different and we will have to perform to the highest level we possibly can. However, we certainly aspire to continue to remain among the best through to the end of this IKF WKC,” he says.

Team Portugal

Team Portugal

Every member of the Portuguese squad lives in Lisbon. All started playing korfball while at school, following which they moved to play at clubs in and around the city, reaching the highest level competing in Portugal’s national championship.

In Durban Portugal has been drawn in the same pool as IKF EKC silver medalist Germany. Their meeting, on the final day of pool play, promises to be one of the most closely observed games of the tournament’s first three days.

Rui, however, says the team is taking one step at a time.

“We only think game by game, so for now our concern is South Africa: our debut, on the first day of the tournament.”

With the host team fired up, and scheduled directly after the tournament opening ceremony, that focus certainly makes good sense for Purtugal, who Rui says are held together by their commitment to each other.

“For us, the value of our team is the team itself. No player is above the other players. Everything we have achieved so far is through hard work and personal dedication. We stand for fair play, self-belief and pressure,” he says.

Judging by the pressure they were able to put on The Diamonds to hold their lead and claim that historic bronze medal, it is a philosophy that has worked well.

#TeamPOR IKF WKC 2019

1: Celise Ribeiro
2: Ana Curva
3: Ana Cordeiro
4: Luise Costa Ruivo
5: Isabel Almeida
7: Catarina Correia
9: Jean Ayres
10: Tiago Luz
11: Hugo Fernandes
13: Bruno Amaral
15: Pedro Correia
16: Júlio Ruivo

Coach: Isabel Teixeira
Assistant Coach: Rui Malcata

#TeamPOR on social media:

► facebook.com/fpcorfebol

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
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: Catalonia (IKF WKC 2019)

After dropping back, Catalonia looks forward

Last year at the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018 Catalonia finished sixth, comfortably qualifying for the upcoming IKF World Korfball Championship. However, after they finished fourth at the IKF WKC 2011, fifth four years later and third at the IKF EKC 2016, a sixth placing against competition excluding non-European korfball countries could be seen as a backwards step, especially as it leaves Catalonia’s current IKF ranking as number 12.

However, Victor Vila Ases, team manager of Catalonia, is looking forward, not back.

“At the EKC, we suffered several injuries, both large and small, which disrupted the group dynamic. Staying strong is a priority for Catalonia at the IKF WKC. We hope to stay healthy. We have focused on making this group strong, so everyone feels important and useful.

“In the end, sport is sport; you might win or not, and it doesn’t depend just on you, the other teams play as well.

“After the tournament, we want to return home with zero regrets and a big smile on our faces,” he says.

Under coach Xavi Vidal and assistant José Manuel Álvarez, Catalonia will introduce several young players to global korfball in South Africa, as Victor explains.

“We want them to be competitive, grow and most importantly, to have fun. We want to compete in every single game, so we can come back home with good feelings about the tournament,” he says.

Team Catalonia

Team Catalonia

In daunting preliminary pool that includes the defending world champion, as well two-times bronze medalist the Czech Republic, which beat Catalonia in their IKF EKC 2018 ranking game, Victor says Catalonia’s players relish the big challenges ahead.

“This will sound like a cliche, but we respect and look forward to playing all the teams we will meet in Durban,” he says.

A recent visit to Catalonia by TeamNL Korfbal, the world champion national team of The Netherlands, featured training games against the locals. A few weeks later they meet more seriously, in a pool game on the IKF WKC’s second day. Victor says hosting the Dutch served as a key part of their preparation.

“Those were very useful games for us. Playing The Netherlands is always a challenge. We defined a set of specific goals, for the team and individually, and we achieved most of them. For the players, facing strong opponents is not usually possible during preparation, as the national team players are supposed to be the best in the country, so you always need an external opponent to give them a challenge, and playing The Netherlands certainly does that,” he says.

Most of the members of Catalonia’s national selection have played korfball since they were teenagers. Plenty of Catalonia’s high schools have korfball teams, and the current players are the result of many years of hard work focusing on the development of school korfball.

Most live in or near Barcelona, though this year the squad also includes a good representation of players from Girona.

Apart from easing some squad members back in as they rehabilitate from injury, Catalonia’s preparation for IKF WKC 2019 has mostly been reasonably smooth.

“Due to the political situation in Catalonia, we were expecting some government funding, though that has not arrived on time as promised. We therefore had to be a bit creative to raise some money and help the players with their payments, which we have done with a crowdfunding project,” says Victor.

He expects two of Catalonia’s new players will command particular attention from spectators, and opponents.

“David Puertas and Alba Rosa Lorente are two youngsters who are kicking the door down already. They both merge talent with hard work, so expect the best from them,” he says.

#TeamCAT IKF WKC 2019

1: Olga Gandía Pérez
4: Daniel Fernández I Gran
6: David Puertas Rojas
9: Alba Rosa Lorente
11: Jessica Lechuga Godínez
14: Javi Navarro Sánchez
15: Laia Rosa Lorente
16: Joel Rus Alfonsín
18: Miquel Gil Maeso
20: Marc Castillo Caragol
Miriam Moraleda Medina
María Castillo García
Berta Martínez González
Clara Cruz Casado

Coach: Xavi Vidal Gomez
Team Manager: Victor Vila Ases
Officials: Jose Manuel Álvarez Andrés, Albert Casorrán Baró

#TeamCAT on social media:

► facebook.com/korfbalcat
► twitter.com/korfbalcat
► instagram.com/korfcat

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
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: South Africa (IKF WKC 2019)

Host aims to build on most intense preparation ever

South Africa is the only African country to have participated at the IKF World Korfball Championship, attending every tournament since 1995. This year will be the biggest yet for the continent as South Africa hosts the event in Durban.

Kgolagano Moetle, known as Zakes, has been playing korfball since 2015, when he was introduced to the sport by one of the established members of the host country’s national squad, RF van Niekerk. Now the two are preparing together to represent their country at the highest level.

“Our team consists of a combination of experienced and new players, all of us eager and ready to prove ourselves. Preparations started in November 2017 when we took the first steps to identify what we needed to work on and how we should do it. Training and preparation has been ongoing since then, and every player has given their all ahead of the tournament.

“Through our preparation programme we have had more than 30 official training days with the group. In the history of korfball in South Africa, we have never had so many training sessions as a group before a World Championship.

“Our most important goal is to play competitive korfball in front of our supporters. Like every other team at the tournament, our aim is to finish as high as possible. We think we are capable of aiming for position number 13 on the final day,” says Zakes.

South Africa currently holds the IKF number 15 ranking. Former world champion and Dutch korfball legend Leon Simons has worked with the team through their intense preparation period, and will provide support to coach Elsie Theyse-Hulsbos and the players during the tournament.

Team South Africa

Team South Africa

Zakes says several of South Africa’s players started korfball at an early age in their respective regions having been introduced to the sport by family or friends.

“Our players are from KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, North West, Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. Ten of the players have international korfball experience from previous IKF WKC events.

“Liandri Theyse is one of the well established players in our squad. She started playing korfball in 1997 when she was nine years old. She grew up next to the korfball field, as her family was and still is involved with korfball. She retired from korfball during the 2015 IKF WKC, then decided to come back and finish her korfball career on home ground.

“On the other hand we have Farah Jawitz, who began korfball in 2018. She started studying at Oxford University and was looking to play a sport there, trying to find something new. She found korfball on the university website, attended try outs, and has loved korfball ever since,” he says.

The South African Korfball Federation (SAKF) is a signatory to the National Sport Plan of South Africa, which prioritises the introduction of sport to all the country‘s communities. All funding from macro sport bodies in South Africa is channeled to the expansion of community sport. One of the SAKF’s aims is to bring korfball to as many potential players in the different provinces as possible. Korfball in South Africa is spread over the country‘s nine provinces. Distances between the provinces, and therefore between clubs, ranges from 50 to 1600 kilometres. Quality match and training time is therefore a luxury, especially for national teams preparing for international events, says Zakes.

“Given the travel distances and availability of suitable venues, playing korfball in South Africa, or for that matter any sport, is always a challenge. Travel distances have a huge financial implication for all concerned. To keep going requires persistence and a positive attitude.

“That same philosophy comes through when we play: we never give up,” he says.

#TeamRSA IKF WKC 2019

1: Danica Erasmus
2: Aneka Fick
3: Werner Basson
4: Christiaan Stephanus Roberts
5: Zamalantha Ribechar Dlamini
6: Themba Benedict Mogasho
7: Liandri Theyse
8: Christie Theyse
9: Daniel Francois Mauritius Smith
10: Vusimuzi Nkunkuma
11: Kgolagano Moethle
12: Kelly-Jean Mills
13: Rudolf Francois Van Niekerk
14: Lindokuhle Dube
15: Farah Jawitz
16: Maria Elizabeth Kleynhans

Coach: Elsie Theyse-Hulsbos
Manager: Gertjie Theyse
Official: Leon Simons

#TeamRSA on social media:

► facebook.com/South-African-Korfball-Federation-775823909094705

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
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: Czech Republic (IKF WKC 2019)

Czechs strive for a way back to korfball’s highest level

The Czech Republic has a special place in international korfball history: in 2002 they were the first nation outside The Netherlands or Belgium to overcome one of the two traditional korfball superpowers, beating Belgium 20-19 on the way to claiming a silver medal at IKF European Korfball Championship of that year.

They followed that up with consecutive bronze medals at the IKF World Korfball Championships of 2003 and 2007, which they also matched at the IKF EKC of both 2006 and 2010. During the two most recent IKF WKC events, in 2011 and 2015, they ranked eight and nine respectively, the latter eliminating them from participation at the World Games 2017.

Ivo Kracík was a member of The Czech Republic team during much of the preceding era, the glory time for Czech korfball. His international playing career ran from 1999 until 2009 and included two IKF WKC bronze medals, plus the IKF EKC silver from 2002. He is now coach of the latest generation of players seeking to match their predecessors’ medal collections. Although Czech has drawn arguably the toughest pool at this IKF WKC, with Catalonia, New Zealand and the Netherlands their opponents on the first three days, Ivo is encouraging his team to keep it calm, and simple.

“We don’t want to put big pressure on our shoulders. We have set gradual goals. We need to take one step at a time. Initially, we aim to finish in the top two in our first round pool, which should give us an easier game in the round of 16, then we can deal with what comes next.

“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the World Games 2021, Birmingham, USA. To achieve that we will have to take every day as it comes. If we can just put one foot in front of the other, who knows, we may even be good enough to play for a medal on the final day,” he says.

Team Czech Republic

Team Czech Republic

Seven of the current Czech squad were on the podium as winners of the bronze medal at the IKF U23 WKC 2016, as the host team, in Olomouc. One of their current team mates Lenka Faltynkova has a bronze medal from the previous era, when she was in the successful squad from the IKF WKC 2003. Anna Literova, meanwhile, is in her first senior IKF WKC.

Ivo says, while those medals are a reminder to his players of what they are aiming for, he is encouraging them to focus on the future.

“We don’t have big stars in our team. We aim to play a team game, where everybody has their own important role,” he says.

Most of the players live in Moravia, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, where they are spread between six different clubs. Most started korfball at age 10, at primary school. The average age of the Czech players is 24.

Ivo says determination, excitement and team spirit characterise the squad he is leading in South Africa. Time will tell whether those are the qualities that will take Czech korfball back to the heights they scaled, and held, nearly two decades ago.

Their first match in Durban will be a repeat of the last match at IKF EKC 2018, where Czech met Catalonia, winning 20-17 to claim the tournament’s number five ranking.

“Of course we are preparing for this game. A good start of the tournament is always important and I believe that we have the weapons to be successful again. We have had great preparation with a lot of training matches where we have been able to find the ideal formations for this game, and we are confident in our ability,” Ivo says.

#TeamCZE IKF WKC 2019

1: Vendula Jemelíková
2: Denisa Kolářová
3: Renata Havlová
4: Anna Literová
5: Lenka Faltýnková
6: Eliška Jonáková
7: Dominika Drábková
12: Petr Šnajdr
13: Petr Pesak
16: Daniel Štefák
17: Patrik Nguyen
18: Petr Galicek
20: Alexandr Vyroubal
25: Jan Sedy

Coach: Ivo Kracík
Manager: David Konečný

#TeamCZE on social media:

► facebook.com/cesky.korfbal
► twitter.com/czechkorfbal
► instagram.com/czechkorfbal

Follow the tournament!

Live streaming games and statistics ► www.worldkorfball.sport
Tournament info, pools & schedule ► 
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: 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 ► 
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 ► 
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 ► 
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 ► 
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 ► 
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