week of January 31, 2015

France beats Qatar to win the Handball World Championship Final

Camilla Greene
Handball 2015

The Qatar Men’s Handball World Championship Final proved tense viewing for a packed stadium of fans from both sides on Sunday. France achieved a nervy 25-22 victory, meaning it continues to hold the World, European and Olympic championship titles. Qatar also had plenty to cheer, after becoming the first non-European nation to win a world championship medal in its first-ever handball final. Qatar’s star player Zarko Markovic produced seven goals and the Qatari side remained steadfast despite France’s tight defence, even threatening to overturn a six-goal deficit in the last 30 minutes. French rightback Xavier Barachet gave his verdict: “We had to fight for it”. 

Qatar's management of the Handball World Championship has widely been viewed as a test round to prove the country's capability as host for some of the world's top sports events. Addressing a press conference at the close of the 24th Handball World Championship yesterday, HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani, president of the Qatar 2015 Organising Committee, said: “Qatar is ready to host Olympics or any other sporting event.”

The atmosphere in the stadium was amplified by some of the biggest musicians ever to perform live in Qatar. Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani and Jason Derulo pulled in the crowds last week, while the finale was reserved for the Australian, French and British icons Kylie Minogue, Mani Hoffman and Taio Cruz.

Read more about the Qatari team and all the events here