altTHE British Handball Association (BHA) today announced the appointment of two coaches to help the developing sport prepare for the 2012 Olympics.


Carsten Albrektsen has been appointed Head Coach of the Men’s world class performance plan, and Vigdis Holmeset becomes the women’s performance Coach.


Holmeset's appointment was first reported in insidethegames on June 9.


Both appointments are effective immediately and will run until March 2009, when a full review of the progress of all Olympic sports will be undertaken by UK Sport and decisions taken on the way forward.

Albrektsen will coach the men's programme on a part-time basis, while he continues with his new role as head coach of Danish men’s team BSV Silkeborg. 


He has just won the Danish Championship with GOG, where he had been head coach for the past three years. 


Albrektsen will work with British coach Bill Baillie, who was appointed full-time men’s performance coach in January this year.

Holmeset joins the Women’s programme and will move from her native Norway to work full-time from the high performance base in Sheffield. 


For the past two years she has been a coach with women’s First Division side Drammen.


She is a coaching instructor and mentor for the Norwegian Handball Federation and was a part or the national junior women’s coaching team from 2000-2002. 


Holmeset will work with Danish coach Morten Arvidsson, who earlier this year was appointed women's head coach.

Stevie Neilson, the BHA chairman said “Signing two such high quality coaches is a great boost for the BHA and shows the extent to which our world class programme has advanced. 


"Albrektsen’s is a highly regarded coach in Denmark and we are confident that his appointment will have a huge impact on the men’s programme. 


"While having Holmeset working full time on the women’s team preparation is bound to help us towards our 2012 goals.”

Holmeset said of her appointment “I wanted to take this job because I look upon it as a challenge, especially thinking of the Olympic Games in 2012. 


"I have worked 20 years as a handball trainer in Norway, with players from 13 years old to the best players in Norway and I am ready for new challenges.


"I think that Great Britain has the potential to become a great handball nation, and to be a part of this and build up a group of talented players is exciting.  


"I am looking forward to working in Sheffield, in partnership with the English Institute of Sport, on the technical, tactical, physical and mental preparation of the players, which I am sure, will give GB handball an opportunity to be competitive by 2012.”

Since the world class handball programme was launched in 2006, the BHA has signed a co-operation agreement with the Danish Handball Federation and, to date, 18 British players have relocated to two specialist handball academies in Denmark, where they also play with local Danish League clubs. 


More players will follow later this year. 


In the UK the programme has relocated to Sheffield, where the non Danish-based players train regularly.