LESS than a month to go before the GB Handball squad is selected for the Games and you can sense the pressure in the squad.
On June 19th the squad will be cut down from 22 players to just 14. We’ve been training and living together for over a year now so when eight of us have to leave it’s going to be really tough, we
are one big family.
All of us are praying we are not one of the eight but that's just the way sport is.
During May we played a number of training matches. These matches are a crucial part of our preparation as we have done all the hard training and now we need to put it all into practise.
We travelled to Holland where we played them twice over two days. We were the wrong side of a 25 point loss on day one! We had been travelling since 3am and played them that same evening.
We could have used it as an excuse but we chose not to as under no circumstances should we have been 25 goal worse than Holland.
Just an extremely poor performance. We were determined to put this right on day two and with a full nights sleep we were able to bring it back against the Dutch until a unlucky late suspension
meant we lost by just one goal.
A big mix of emotions those two days, two very different days, two very different performances.
Just goes to show we have that bounce back ability and anything can happen in Handball!
The prospect of playing at the Olympics is becoming more real day by day and last week, our group for the Games was drawn.
Handball is slightly different to other sports, as the host nation is able to pick which group we would like to go in after the draw, and we chose Group A with Montenegro, Russia, Croatia, Brazil
Our coach made the decision to choose Group A in the hope that we will pick up a win against Angola like we did at the test event back in November.
We only need to make the top four to qualify for the quarter finals but that will be harder than it looks. 90 percent of the squad that won this season’s Champions League will play for Montenegro
this summer and they are one of the favourites going into the Games.
Russia have a cabinet bursting at the seams with major World, Olympic and European championship trophies.
Brazil qualify as American champions and Croatia another strong European side top 10 in the world. Group B consists of reigning champions Norway, Spain, Denmark, France, Sweden and South Korea.
Shortly after the Olympic draw we played Montenegro at our training base in Crystal Palace as part of the European Championship Qualification.
We managed to compete with them, going in at half time only two goals behind at 12-14. But their class showed in the second half and we played poorly, eventually losing 22-37. At least we know from
our first half performance we can compete with them come Games time - they are our first fixture on 28th July so put it in your diary!
Not long after that we were on a plane to Russia to fight it out with them as part of the same qualification round.
31-22 to Russia was the final result there. It was a fantastic match in front of 3 000 Russian fans.
Another great result for us against previous World, Olympic & European champions. A result that will not go unnoticed in the handball world.
With the Olympic Games being less that 50 days away it's also time to think about next season, so I travelled to Denmark for three days to talk to two Danish clubs about a contract for next year.
It's exciting to be planning a future in handball before the Olympics have even taken place!
A camp in Spain is next on the cards and then the selection process.
I can only imagine that it's going to get more and more tense as selection creeps up on us but, we will just have to keep cool and focus on what's in front of us which will be some more crucial
training matches for us in Spain.