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Danish male handballers go medal hunting at London Olympics

07-11-2012 17:11 BJT

By Devapriyo Das, Yang Jingzhong

COPENHAGEN, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The Danish men's national handball team is among tournament favorites at the 2012 London Olympics, where they will seek their first Olympic medal.

Xinhua reporters met the squad at the Travbanehallen handball arena in Amager, southern Copenhagen, at a pre-game training session in early July.

"We went to the Beijing Olympics as European champions and now we are doing the same again in London, but we hope to do a little better this time," said playmaker Bo Spellerberg during a pause in practice.

The team finished a disappointing seventh at the 2008 games, and can expect a hard time again this year, when they face Hungary, South Korea, Serbia, Croatia and Spain in the group stage. The latter three teams finished runners-up behind Denmark at the European Championships (EC) 2012.

"It is impossible to say who is our toughest opponent because the group is very difficult and you may lose to anybody," said team coach Ulrik Wilbek.

"But we have also won against all those teams... so we know that we can beat them. It is up to us to prepare properly and hopefully win all the matches," he added.

The London games, which features 12 teams each in the men's and women's handball events, marks the first time that Denmark's male and female squads have both qualified for the same Olympics.

The women's team has a glittering record at the games, having won gold three times in a row in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and is favored to win a medal again this year.

The men are favorites following their EC victory in January, which led to their automatic qualification for the London games. The men's team has won bronze and silver at the World Championships in 2007 and 2011, respectively, and gold in the EC 2008 and 2012, but an Olympic medal continues to elude them.

Wilbek said the team's preparations have improved since the Beijing games, and that it would avoid making the mistakes it had made in the past.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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