During a festive ceremony held in Dubai on 9 January 2022, the International Handball Federation (IHF) received the H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award in the category of the best initiative of the Summer Olympic International Federations (IFs).
Joel Delplanque, 1st Vice-President of the IHF, accepted the award on behalf of his organisation, which was recognised for its innovative way of staging the 27th IHF men’s Handball World Championships in January 2021 in Cairo, Egypt. This major sport event was delivered under the extremely challenging early circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic and required new health and medical protocols to be in place to protect the 640 athletes and all other participants numbering up to 5,000. Paving the way for future events, more than 30,000 PCR and 1,500 rapid antigen tests were conducted, and a “bubble” principle was implemented successfully. The pioneering measures applied for these championships gave clear direction and a first reference for many other sports in how a safe and secure major sports event might be delivered in the most difficult circumstances.
The award comes with a USD 250,000 prize for use in development activities.
While attending the ceremony, ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said:
ASOIF is very thankful for this generous recognition of outstanding activities undertaken by sports federations. The last two years have been extremely challenging for the entire sports world and the IHF early on provided solutions for resuming major sport events during the global pandemic. Not an easy task - this prestigious award is very well deserved.
Click here to read the full press release by the award organisers.
About the award
Since 2013, Summer Olympic IFs have been invited to participate in the Creative Sports Award. It is designed to celebrate and encourage initiatives, projects and programmes that demonstrate outstanding creativity and contribute to the enrichment of sport. Each year ASOIF members can submit one entry for the award, with each submission examined in relation to the award criteria by a group of referees appointed by the Award’s Board of Trustees.