British handball chief takes shine off Copper Box

London: London 2012 organisers have come under fire after changing the name of the Handball Arena to the Copper Box.

The world`s leading nations will battle for precious Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals in the 7,000-seater venue at this year`s Games but copper it seems is not to the taste of British handball`s governing body.

"We deserve to have all our good work in developing the sport recognised by the authorities by not giving the venue a generic title which does nothing to reflect its usage," British Handball chief executive Paul Goodwin said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Why have they not renamed other facilities in a similar vein? Perhaps the Olympic Velodrome will be called `the big round wooden building` or the basketball arena renamed `the marshmallow`?".

The Copper Box, which features 3,000 square metres of copper cladding and multi-coloured interior, was completed in May. It will host the handball competition until the semi-finals before it switches to the basketball venue.

It will also be used for the fencing element of the modern pentathlon and the Paralympic sport of Goalball before reverting to a multi-use venue following the Games.

Britain Handball have been battling to increase awareness of the sport which is marginal in the country but hugely popular elsewhere in Europe and around the world.

"Retaining the name of the sport in the title of the venue is important to us," Goodwin added. "The Olympics has given handball a great opportunity to grow in popularity and all the indications are that we are achieving that."

A recent study by Sport England said there had been a six-fold increase in British children being introduced to handball in the last three years.

Britain have been given a wildcard into the Olympic handball tournament.

Bureau Report

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