A FORMER professional handball player has launched a club in Rutland and hopes the sport will take off.
Sergiu Tautan has founded Rutland Handball Club at Catmose Sports Centre in Oakham and is appealing for people to try it out.
Born and raised in Romania Sergiu studied handball techniques for four years and played handball for 14 years. He is also a certified England Handball Association coach.
Currently living in Uppingham and working as a senior carer, Sergiu hopes his passion for the “fast and dynamic” sport will also encourage people to try it out.
He said: “In Romania team handball was introduced in 1921 and was one of the powerful teams at that time.
“My mother was a handball player as well and I practically grew up loving this sport and playing it.
“You will see at the Olympics how spectacular, dynamic and technical it is.
“Our club wishes to attract as many people as we can to play handball.
“The game is quite fast and includes body contact as the defenders try to stop the attackers from approaching the goal.
“Contact is only allowed when the defensive player is completely in front of the offensive player, ie between the offensive player and the goal.
“This is referred to as a player sandwich. Any contact from the side or especially from behind is considered dangerous and is usually met with penalties.
“When a defender successfully stops an attacking player, the play is stopped and restarted by the attacking team from the spot of the infraction or on the nine metre line.
“Goals are scored quite frequently, usually both teams score at least 20 goals each, and it is not uncommon for both teams to score more than 30 goals.”
The club has its first game at Catmose Friday, July 20, against Gedling Handball Club, starting at 7pm and anyone is welcome to go and watch.
Sergiu said: “We have been training for about two months in Oakham but we do not have a very good attendance because this is not a popular sport and people do not know what it is really about.”
From next term the club says it will be working with Uppingham Community College, Catmose College and another two schools in Corby to promote handball in schools.
Sergiu hopes to organise training sessions for children in the future to form a competitive team.
He also dreams of setting up his own Handball Academy and developing top players.
The club has a Facebook page www.facebook.com/RutlandHandballClub