Handball at the Rio 2016 Olympics: All you need to know

Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC Four, Red Button and up to 24 HD video streams on mobile, desktop and connected TVs, plus follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary.

How does it work?

Handball is a seven-a-side game played on a large indoor court measuring 40m x 20m. Matches consist of two 30-minute halves and the aim is to throw the ball into the opposition's goal.

The ball can only be held by one competitor for a maximum of three seconds and players are allowed to take up to three steps before shooting or passing, however the ball must not touch them below the knee.

There are 12 teams in both the men's and women's competitions, divided into two groups of six. The top four from each group advance to the quarter-finals, when the competition switches to a knockout format. During the knockout, games will go to extra time and a penalty shootout if necessary.

Who are the favourites?

Norway's women and France's men have won back-to-back Olympic titles and the most recent World and European Championships.

Qatar's world silver medal in the men's event last year was not without controversy - only three of their 17 players were born and bred in the Gulf state.

What about the British prospects?

None - the national teams saw their funding withdrawn after London 2012.

When is it on?

There will be handball taking place every day during Rio 2016 from Saturday, 6 August, with teams competing for medals on the final weekend.

I didn't know that...

Qatar's recruitment policy extended beyond the court at the 2015 World Championships. The Qatar Handball Association paid for flights, accommodation and board for 60 "fans" from Spain to travel to the Gulf state and make some noise.

Previous British medallists


Highest British position

2012: Britain's only appearance in Olympic handball saw both the men's and women's teams finish 12th after losing all their games.

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