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How Scandinavia favorite Handball is helping shape futures

For the longest time, the sporting landscape of Haryana has been defined by boxing, wrestling and even kabaddi.

But quietly, away from the spotlight, a 19th century sport that has its origins in Scandinavia and Germany is gaining traction through the state's hinterland with its practitioners asserting that it is changing lives one goal at a time.

Handball, which became an Olympic sport back in 1972 at the ill-fated Munich Games, came to India the same year and at present has a registered player pool of more than 80,000, according to the national federation.

It is an uncomplicated seven-a-side sport comprising two halves of 30 minutes each, during which players move the ball by passing, dribbling, or hitting it with any part of their bodies above the knee.

And while doing so, the team that scores more goals wins the match. It is played in over 180 countries and Europe dominates the Olympic medal standings.

The soon-to-be-launched Premier Handball League is looking to add a tinge of glamour and loads of money to its growth with the organisers promising an investment of Rs 240 crore over the next five years. The league, which is set to be held next year, has unveiled three franchises so far.

For the those who play handball, it is much more than mere economics. To them, it's a sport that has helped "bhaichara" in their villages and also kept the social evils like the menace of drug abuse in check.