October 28 - Japan has been awarded the 2019 women's World Handball Championships while Denmark and Germany will jointly host the men's event that year, it was announced in Doha today.
The International Handball Federation (IHF) ruling Executive Committee chose Japan's bid ahead of Norway while Denmark and Germany were selected ahead of rivals Poland and another joint bid from Hungary and Slovakia.
The choice of Japan was influenced by the fact that Tokyo will host the Olympics in 2020 and this gives the sport the opportunity to make inroads into a country where it is currently relatively weak.
The Kumamoto region, on the on the island of Kyushu, will be the main centre for the Championships but there will be a venue in Tokyo in a bid to help the city prepare for the Olympics.
Additionally the Japanese Organising Committee will have a venue in Tokyo in order prepare for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo. Kumamoto has had a lot of experience with handball tournaments. In 1997 Kumamoto hosted the Men's World Championships.
Kumamoto hosted the men's World Championships in 1997, the first time the event had ever been held outside Europe.
Russia beat Sweden 23-21 in the final.
The Japanese men's best result in a World Championships was tenth in France in 1970 while the women's was seventh in 1965, when the event was held in West Germany.
The women have only ever qualified for the Olympics once, at Montreal 1976, when they finished fifth, while the men have competed in the Games on five occasions, but not since Seoul 1988.
The decision to give Denmark and Germany the men's event means the two countries will be at the centre of the handball universe over the next six years.
Denmark is already due to host the women's World Handball Championships in 2015 and will be followed two years later by Germany.
"We are very happy to be hosting the World Championship in 2019," said Bernhard Bauer, President of the German Handball Federation.
"The decision of the IHF [Executive Committee] is strongly connected with a high responsibility for all of us.
"We have great plans to use the women's World Championships 2015 in Denmark and 2017 in Germany plus the IHF's 2019 Men's World Championship in Denmark and Germany to create a highly evolving and continuous public interest for the sport of handball.
"In doing so we want to inspire especially the younger generations and to create a new euphoria for handball among people of all ages."
Under the agreement, the preliminary rounds would be held in both Germany and Denmark.
The semi-finals will then be played in Germany, while the finals and the President's Cup will be hosted by Denmark.
Both countries have previously hosted the men's Championships on their own.
Germany staged the very first Championships in 1938.
It was subsequently hosted by East Germany in 1954 and 1974 and West Germany in 1961 and 1982 before it was staged in a re-united Germany in 2007, which saw more than 300,000 people attend the matches.
Denmark has hosted the event once, in 1978.
It will be the first time the Championships have been held in two countries.
"The IHF's 2019 men's World Championship will form the ideal platform for creating worldwide promotion, progress and partnerships," said Per Bertelsen, President of the Danish Handball Federation.
"Since we signed an agreement with the Germans, we have worked extremely hard on a strong joint bid."
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