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| Event type

Handball, Women

Date9 – 23 August 2008
StatusOlympic
LocationGuojia Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing / Ao Ti Zhongxin Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing
Participants171 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.

The 12 women’s teams qualified for the 2008 Olympics as follows – China as the host nation; Russia as the 2007 World Champion; the top six teams from the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Germany, Sweden, Romania, Hungary, France, South Korea); the 2006 European Champion (Norway); Brazil as the 2007 Pan American Games Champion; and the winners of the 2007 Asian and 2008 African Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (Kazakhstan, Angola, respectively). A surprising absentee was Denmark, winner of the past three Olympic gold medals. They had failed to qualify after finishing only 11th at the 2006 Europeans.

The absence of Denmark made the two favorites Russia (the reigning World Champion) and Norway (runner-up). Both nations placed top of their pool in Beijing, Norway winning each of its five pool matches, while Russia drew South Korea, the 2004 silver medallists. Norway also had little trouble making the semi-finals, beating Sweden easily 31-24. The Russians faced a tougher opponent in France, which they only overcame in extra time after tying 24-24. The other two semi-finalists were South Korea and Hungary, both traditionally strong handball nations.

Russia faced Hungary in the semi-finals, taking a strong lead in the first half (14-9). Hungary then managed a slight comeback, but nothing that worried the Russians, who made their first Olympic final – although the Soviet Union had won two golds in 1976 and 1980. The other semi-final was between Norway and South Korea, the 1988 and 1992 Olympic finalists. Korea took a four-point lead halfway through the first half, but by the whistle, the Norwegians had closed it to 15-14. They opened strongly in the second half, pulling away to 20-17. In the last minute, with Norway short-handed, the Koreans scored three times to tie the match at 28-28. The last goal by Mun Pil-Hui came with 7 seconds left on the clock. With some of the Koreans still cheering, the Norwegians quickly restarted play, passed twice, and Gro Hammerseng put the ball in the lower left corner – right at the horn for full time. The Koreans immediately protested the goal was made after full time, but the goal was allowed. Korea did not give up, and their coach continued arguing with the match officials for close to an hour, and Korea lodged various official protests, all of which were denied.

Norway and Russia met in the final of a major tournament for the fourth time since 2001, with the Russians having won two of these encounters. But compared to the semi-finals, the final was hardly a contest. Within 10 minutes, the Norwegians had pulled away to 9-2 lead, after which they controlled the match. Russia managed to end the first half at 18-13, but never had a chance in the second half. Norway managed to make the gap as wide as 34-23 with slightly over a minute to play. Four late goals by the Russians couldn’t prevent a clear Norwegian victory – the first ever at the Olympics. Korea had bounced back after the deception in the semi-finals, and defeated Hungary for the bronze, the country’s sixth Olympic medal in women’s handball.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1NorwayNORGold
Ragnhild AamodtKaroline Dyhre BreivangMarit Malm FrafjordKari Aalvik GrimsbøGro HammersengKatrine Lunde HaraldsenKari Mette JohansenTonje LarsenKristine LundeElse-Marthe Sørlie LybekkTonje NøstvoldKatja NybergLinn-Kristin Riegelhuth KorenGøril Snorroeggen
2Russian FederationRUSSilver
Yekaterina AndryushinaIrina BliznovaYelena DmitriyevaAnna KareyevaYekaterina MarennikovaYelena PolyonovaIrina PoltoratskayaLyudmila PostnovaOksana RomenskayaNataliya ShipilovaMariya SidorovaInna SuslinaEmiliya TureyYana Uskova
3Republic of KoreaKORBronze
An Jeong-HwaBae Min-HeeChoi Im-JeongHong Jeong-HoHeo Sun-YeongKim Cha-YeonKim Nam-SunKim On-ALee Min-HuiMun Pil-HuiOh Seong-OkOh Yeong-RanPark Jeong-HuiSong Hai-Rim
4HungaryHUN
Bernadett BódiRita BorbásBernadett FerlingAnita GörbiczOrsolya HerrÁgnes HornyákMónika KovacsiczKatalin PálingerKrisztina PigniczkiPiroska SzamoránskyGabriella SzűcsZsuzsanna TomoriTimea TóthOrsolya Vérten
5FranceFRA
Camille AyglonPaule BaudouinStéphanie CanoSophie HerbrechtNina KantoAlexandra LacrabèreAmandine LeynaudValérie NicolasVéronique Pecqueux-RollandMariama SignateRaphaëlle TervelMaakan TounkaraChristine Vanparys-TorresIsabelle Wendling
6People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Huang DongjieHuang HongLi BingLi WeiweiLiu GuiniLiu XiaomeiLiu YunSun LaimiaoWang MinWang ShashaWei QiuxiangWu WenjuanWu YananYan MeizhuZhang Geng
7RomaniaROU
Carmen AmarieiMihaela Ani SenocicoValeria Motogna-BeșeFlorina BârsanAurelia BrădeanuLuminită DinuValentina EliseiNarcisa LecușanuRamona FarcăuAdina MeiroșuCristina NeaguAdriana OlteanuTereza PâslaruIoneia StancaTalida Tolnai
8SwedenSWE
Johanna AhlmTherese BengtssonMatilda BosonJessica EnströmSara ErikssonTina FlognmanMadeleine GrundströmIsabelle GulldénSara HolmgrenTherese HelgessonLinnea TorstensonFrida TovebyTeresa UtkovicJohanna WibergAnnika Wiel Fredén
9BrazilBRA
Duda Amorim Deonise Darly DaraViviane Jacques Chana Daly Alexandra AlessandraDani Piedade Ana Paula Pará Aline Lucila
10KazakhstanKAZ
Olga AdzhigerskayaIrina BorechkoYelena IlyukhinaGulzira IskakovaNataliya KubrinaYuliya MarkovichKseniya NikandrovaTatyana ParfyonovaMarina PikalovaYelena PortovaOlga TravnikovaYekaterina TyapkovaYana VasilyevaNataliya Yakovleva
11GermanyGER
Anja AlthausMaren BaumbachSabine EnglertNadine HärdterMandy HeringGrit JurackNadine KrauseAnna LoerperSteffi MelbeckAnne MüllerSabrina NeukampLaura SteinbachClara WolteringNina Wörz
12AngolaANG
Ilda BengueNatália BernardoElisabeth CailoBombo CalandulaAzenaide CarlosNair AlmeidaWuta DombaxiMária EduardoIsabel FernandesLuísa KialaMária PedroOdeth TavaresFilomena TrindadeElizabeth Viegas

Preliminary Round (9 – 17 August 2008)

Quarter-Finals (19 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Match #1 NOR 31 – 24SWE
Match #2 HUN 34 – 30ROU
Match #3 KOR 31 – 23CHN
Match #4 RUS 32 – 31FRA

Classification Round 5-8 (21 August 2008)

Classification matches.

Match #1 CHN 20 – 19SWE
Match #2 FRA 36 – 34ROU

Semi-Finals (21 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to final round.

Match #1 NOR 29 – 28KOR
Match #2 RUS 22 – 20HUN

Final Round (23 August 2008)

Medal round.

Match 1/2 NOR 34 – 27RUS
Match 3/4 KOR 33 – 28HUN
Match 5/6 FRA 31 – 23CHN
Match 7/8 ROU 34 – 30SWE