We bring you the interview with the person in charge of the organization of the upcoming Masters. Dr. Pedro Sequeira had took a moment of his precious time to reveal some informations about finals of the European club championship for our honourable readers.
As a main co-organizer of a beach handball Masters tournament – what are your expectations for the following tournament?
I have the expectations that this will be the best EBT Master tournament ever. After this tournament, I think Beach Handball will enter in a new ERA.
How long have you been active in beach handball? Do you also organize some other beach handball tournaments?
I brought the Beach Handball to Portugal in 1994. At that time, only Italy and the Netherlands played Handball in the Beach, already with 4 against 4 and special rules. Every year we (the Portuguese handball federation) organize a National Beach Handball Tour from north to south of Portugal. As you know, we are a Beach Country!!
EBT Masters is taking place in Espinho, please tell us some useful information about the city?What was the reason that you changed the venue (because Povoa da Varzim was first on a list)?
Espinho is a typical Portuguese Beach City prepared to receive tourists during all the year. It has a lot of hotels, typical restaurants and Casino! It has a long beautiful Beach. One of the best Volleyball Beach Tournaments in the World is played every year here. We wanted to have the EBT Master tournament in Póvoa do Varzim because it´s a very nice town, very near to Oporto and there is less handball. This tournament could help to bring handball to this city. But the Marines didn't authorized the use of the Beach for a competition (in Portugal, the Local Marines are the responsible in giving the authorizations for using the Beach for sport or other activities)
Can You describe the location of the playing field? Is it exactly at the beach? Are you planning to install the spectators area and for how many spectators? What about TV broadcasting and live streaming?
We will have a Beach arena with 2 fields and a very big fun area. The main field is for about 800/1000 spectators. The second field for 300 spectators. It´s in front of the Hotel were the organization will be (the best Hotel in front of the beach). Live streaming is guaranteed. We are still negotiating with TV (cable and national TV).
Do you expect a lot of people to be interested into watching the games of beach handball?What can you tell about Portuguese beach handball?
We think there will be a lot of people interested in watching the games because in the north of Portugal there are the most Handball teams. And in June, weather is very nice so a lot of people will be already at the beach during all the day.
Portuguese Beach Handball was very strong (one of the best in Europe) between 1994 and 1998. Between 1998 and 2007 there were other priorities and Beach Handball decreased. After 2007 there is a new generation of organizers and my coming back to Beach Handball and now is increasing again!
Are there lights on the playing field? Will there be a night matches?
There are lights. There will be night matches if EHF wants.
What do you know about participating teams and which of them do you see in final matches?
I think we have 16 very nice and strong teams! I feel that in the Woman Tournament there is no favourite because all are very, very strong. In the Man Tournament I think the Portuguese Team will reach the final. Maybe against the Spanish Team, if they bring their best players.
Can you tell us something about beach handball in Portugal?Do you have national championships? What is the system of championship?
In Portugal we organize a national championship during two months (June and July) ant the Final is in August. Every tournament gives points, in a system very closed to EBT. We also organize a lot of youth tournaments.
How many teams are there in Portugal, approximately?
It’s impossible to say, because we have teams that only play local tournaments and other play all the tournaments.
What Portuguese beach handball tournament are well organized (number of teams and quality, price money, atmosphere)?
Every year new tournaments are coming to our organization (National Championship). Leiria, Aveiro (Espinho) and Oporto have the best tournaments. But, sometimes, Algarve (lagos and Portimao) held also very good tournaments.
Can you describe to Croatian beach handball community what happened with Portuguese national selection. After European championships that was held in Cadiz (2002) your country didn't participate any more. Why is that and do you have ambitions to change the present situation?
After 2002 , (more exactly during 2003, when Croatia was World Champion in Lisbon!!!) as maybe you heard, Portugal had very big problems with a new Handball Professional League. This organization was outside the Federation and brought fights between Handball persons all around the country. Also with the Portuguese Government there were problems. This “black years” of our Handball had impact in all of our organization and nobody wanted to think in Beach Handball. After 2008 things are going straight again and we want to show to all Europe, with the EBT, that we are again “on the game”! I will make everything to put Portugal and Beach Handball again in its place!
Finally, let's speak about amusement. Are you planning to organize a players party in the evening? If so-where it will be held?
We will have a lot of fun in the fun areas and there will be also a players party (but its secret, for now!!)
Also, during the tournament, will there be some other contents for entertainment?
Yes, there will be always entertainment in the fun areas around the Field area! And, as you will notice, there is a lot happening in Espinho! Be prepared!
In the end, give us some useful advice before our adventure to Espinho...
If you like Casinos, then I think you will spend a lot of time there, because its a great Casino with a lot of shows! And its 2 minutes from the Beach! If the sun and the temperature are normal, you can stay from 7 O’clock till 21 O’clock in the beach!! The beach is very big so you can enjoy it all the day. There are also a lot of restaurants with sea fish that is unique in Portugal! Finally, Espinho is very close to Oporto (2nd biggest City in Portugal) were you can go by cab or train and in 15/20 minutes you are there. Nights in June are very HOT in Oporto!! For shopping is also a very nice town with a lot of big Shopping Centers!
Thank you very much for your precious time and I hope that we will see you soon.