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Fri 17-Oct-2003 20:52
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'Fire in the Belly...' -
'One Wall' World Handball Championships
One Wall events get underway this evening Friday, in the first leg of the World Handball Championships.
All events, from juvenile to masters take place in O’Loughlin Gaels in Kilkenny and spectators will be in for quite a treat as two hundred matches will be played over a three day period from Friday to Sunday. A truly international contest will be on display as competitors from Australia, Basque Country, Canada, England, Wales and the US will be taking on the natives in Ireland to battle for top One Wall honours. The events at the weekend will be the best opportunity to see as many stars and international players at the one venue as competitors will be scattered throughout the countryside for their fourwall events – thus making it a ‘must’ for all handball enthusiasts and newcomers alike!
On hand to defend their 2000 World Championships titles will be Cesar Sala (Men’s Open Singles) and partners Dave Rojas and Tony Roberts (Men’s Open Doubles), all of whom will be travelling from the One-Wall stronghold of New York. David King from Carlow presents the strongest Irish challenge and is seeded in the No. 2 berth for both the Open Singles and with Eddie Burke of Kilkenny in the Open Doubles.
The Women’s Open events will most likely be dominated by the Americans, but Máighréad Ní Riabhaigh-Ó Dúill from Armagh, seeded at No. 4, will put forth her best efforts to promote the Irish cause. As No. 1 seed Tracy Davis (USA) isn’t able to travel, the draw is somewhat open for an underdog to make their mark on the competition. Máighréad will join forces with Raquel Murphy of the US in the Women’s Open Doubles, where they take hold of the No 4. berth. Murphy is quite keen for events to get started and is looking forward to partnering an Irish player to add a unique dimension to the tournament.
Irish juvenile players are expected to fare quite well in the One Wall stage of the World Championships. All eyes will be on 2000 13 & Under World Champion Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath), who will face tough competition in the 17 & Under Singles. This particular event has over 30 entries and there will be a serious battle between American, Irish and Welsh handballers. Roscommon’s Damien Martin will have high hopes of capturing the first of 2 titles he is in contention for as he is seeded at No. 1 in the One Wall Boys 19 & Under Singles event as well as holding the No. 2 slot in the Fourwall 19 & Under.
Sinead Sheridan who hails from Abbeylara, Co. Longford – where One Wall handball is the game to play - takes the No. 1 seed in the Girls 15 & Under event, while Clubmate Siobhan Gilligan is at No. 1 in the 13 & Under event. Joy Smith, Meath, provides the only Irish representation in the Girls 19 & Under event and is in with an excellent chance of securing victory for Ireland in her grade as well.
While the juveniles are battling away, so too will the competitors in the masters grades – some of whom are over 60 years young! Vic DiLuzio of Australia, competing at the weekend in the One Wall Golden Masters Singles, has been to every World Handball Championships since 1970 – nine in all, and his motivation to succeed at this level has never been stronger. “Beware,” he states, “I have the fire in the belly again for 2003.” No stranger to Ireland, DiLuzio is looking forward to the competition and the opportunity to meet up with old friends. He remembers fondly his last visit when, “they called me O’Luzio – I loved that – they took me for a Kerryman!”
All One-Wall finals take place on Sunday 19 October at O’Loughlin’s, and it will be quite an action packed day. Fourwall competition will follow the One Wall events and take place in venues across Ireland. Stay tuned for further details, including One Wall results and developments and specifics on the fourwall events.
World Handball Championships Return to Ireland – October 17th to 26th, 2003
For further information, including all fixtures and drawsheets, log on www.handball.ie
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