25 Jul 2017

Sport: American Samoa handball team map path to Youth Olympics

12:35 pm on 25 July 2017

American Samoa's Under 17 girls beach handball team is not resting on their laurels, after qualifying for next year's Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

The team returned home last week from the Under 17 Beach Handball World Championship in Mauritius, where they defeated Australia twice and the host nation.

American Samoa and Australia represented Oceania against 14 other countries.

American Samoa will compete in beach handball at the 2018 Youth Olympics.

American Samoa will compete in beach handball at the 2018 Youth Olympics. Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

Captain Fiapa'ipa'i Fanene said everybody brought their game and they know what needs to be improved on.

"Oh I'm ready (to go to Argentina). I want to take it. Me and my girls have got to work really hard for this since we are the first team (from American Samoa) to be in the Olympics so it's exciting," she said.

"My problem is the running, just run and practice in the sand because that's one of the adversities that we had to go through playing the game."

Head coach Carl Floor said their preparations for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires will be assisted by the International Handball Association.

"They're going to send me some coaching assistance and instead of just three days they want them to come here now for three to four weeks," he said.

"They're really helpful and pulling for us because they feel what we've done has been amazing, coming from such a small territory to qualify and actually beat Australia.

"I'm also looking for additional places to take my girls next year around June. I'm working with SoCal Beach Handball Club, which is in Southern California, so we'd like to be able to bring our girls there maybe for two to three weeks to train.

"And really if we could get some help over here (in the territory) with getting a sand court - that's our biggest hurdle."