Introduction to Handball

Handball is a fast-paced sport which demands a combination of speed, agility, coordination and clever tactics from its players.

Teams of seven players pass, throw, catch and dribble a ball with their hands to try and score goals in their opponent's net. The team with the most goals wins the game.

A game consists of two 30-minute periods, with a 10-minute half-time break. In finals, extra time and sometimes penalty throws decide the winner.



Various versions of team handball were played in ancient Greece and Rome and in medieval Germany. The modern game of handball was first played towards the end of the 19th century in Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

Handball was originally played on a full-size outdoor football pitch, but the popularity of the field game gave preference to the indoor, seven-a-side version favoured by Scandinavians.

Field handball first appeared as an Olympic sport in 1936, but was soon removed from the roster. It returned, in its shorter form, at the Munich Games in 1972.

Four years later, women's handball was introduced in Montreal in 1976. Yugoslavia won the first men's gold medal and the then USSR became the inaugural women's handball champions.

Handball has been played in the Asian Games since 1982 when it was introduced at the 9th Asian Games Delhi 1982, India.



Handball is played on an indoor pitch 40m long by 20m wide. A player may only take three steps while holding the ball and cannot deliver a shot from inside the 6m semicircular line surrounding each goal.

Players can jump in the air and catch or throw the ball while in flight. If a defender hits an attacker from the side or behind, or in a manner deemed to be rough by the referee, a penalty throw is awarded to the opposing team.

If scores are even after 60 minutes, 10 minutes of extra time, consisting of two five-minute halves, is played. If teams are still level after the extra 10 minutes, a further 10 minutes of play will take place. After that, penalty throws decide the match.

The handball competition at the 15th Asian Games will be conducted in accordance with the current International Handball Federation and Asian Handball Federation official rules and regulations.

A preliminary round will take place in the men's competition, with two points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. The top two teams advance to the semi-finals. The women's competition follows a league format.