Oceania Continent Handball Federation
The Oceania Continent Handball Federation (OCHF) is the governing body for the Olympic sport of Handball in Oceania. It is affiliated to the International Handball Federation (IHF). The OCHF is administered by an executive committee elected annually by its members. The OCHF members are the local governing Handball federations in countries within the Oceania region that are also members of the IHF.
The first Oceania Handball Federation (OHF) was founded on the 9th July 1993, by Mr. Alexander Dimitric in Sydney, Australia. In 1994, the first ever Oceania Senior Men's and Women's Championships were held in the Australian Capital city of Canberra, at the Australian Institute of Sport. This inaugural event was played between New Zealand and Australia Senior Men's and Women's teams in which Australia prevailed in both.
In 1995, the first ever Oceania Junior Championships were held for men and women (Porirua, New Zealand). Australia won the Junior Men's Championship and New Zealand won the Junior Women's Championships. Although these games were called Continental championships, only Australia and New Zealand took part in these early days.
From 1998-2009, Mr. Vernon Winitana (New Zealand) was President of the Oceania Handball Federation. He was first elected to this position in December 1998 (Mittagong, NSW, Australia), then re-elected in May 2003 (Porirua, New Zealand). In 2000, Mr. Winitana joined the International Handball Federation and held the position of 'Vice-President', onbehalf of Oceania.
Between 1998-2008 much work and support was done to promote and grow the sport of Handball throughout the Pacific in order to grow the membership with other Pacific Nations. This was a requirement set by the IHF (that in order for Oceania to be fully recognized as a Continental Federation the IHF required 7 full members to join the OHF). During this time, Olympic Solidarity programmes were held throughout the Pacific including: Australia (Mittagong, NSW), Samoa, Cook Islands and Vanuatu to name a few, early contact and work was also done in Fiji and Tonga. The result of this work saw the Cook Islands and Samoa Handball Association's gained full membership of the IHF in 2000, shortly followed by Vanuatu. The Samoan Handball Association presented their first ever National Junior Women's team to compete at the Oceania Junior Championships in 1999, (Porirua, NZ) which was won by New Zealand.
In 2000 the IHF made big efforts to promote Handball in Oceania because of the upcoming Sydney Olympics which were held in 2000. The legendary coach Bengt Johansson (Sweden) was sent to support on site, economic support was given, development aid granted and additional help sent wherever possible. Alex Gavrilovic from Handball Australia was the Olympic Handball Competition Manager at 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney and was pivotal in showcasing Handball in this region, to the World. This was a big highlight in the history of Handball in the Oceania region. Mr. Gavrilovic also went on to play the same role for Handball programme at the 2011 London Olympics.
Between 2000 and 2003 work continued to keep growing the membership of the Oceania Handball Federation to look at ways to include New Caledonia, Tahiti and Wallis and Futuna as 'Affiliate' members of the Oceania Handball Federation. These countries were only able to gain 'Affiliate' membership status, as at that time the French Handball Federation had not formally released these countries from their membership, and there were considerable implications for these countries if they left the French Handball Federation and joined the OHF, therefore their 'Affiliate' status.
In 2003, the 'Affiliate' countries were invited to compete and participate in Oceania 'Pacific Cup'. Tahiti participated in their first-ever Oceania Handball event which was held (Porirua, New Zealand) and sponsored by the IHF. This was welcomed by the Oceania Handball in an attempt to broaden the participation numbers (as most events were still only Australia and NZ competing regularly).
Note: The French Handball Federation has had a long presence in the Pacific via their former / existing (colonies/associates/territories): Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Wallis & Futuna etc. these countries have enjoyed a handball history that pre-date's Australia and New Zealand's inclusion into the International Handball community.
In 2003, Mr Sacha Dimitich (Australia) was acknowledged and recognized as a Life Member of the Oceania Handball Federation, for the hard work, dedication and commitment he had given to the sport of Handball in Oceania.
From 2006 to 2008, Mr. Winitana in his capacity as IHF Continental Vice-President challenged and raised his concerns with the IHF Executive Council regarding funding and development resources that had been promised to the Oceania region, once they had fulfilled their obligations to the IHF to get 7 full members on board, among other matters. This unfortunately put him at odds with the IHF Executive Board, and in 2008 he was removed from the IHF, and the recognition of the NZ national Handball entity he represented (Handball NZ) was removed by the IHF and awarded to a newly formed entity called the 'New Zealand Handball Federation'.
One of the last acts of the Oceania Handball Federation before it was disbanded as at the 'Oceania Senior Men's Handball Championships' held in Wellington, NZ - the Oceania Handball Federation recognized Mama Keu Mitchell (Cook Islands Handball Association) as its Patron, and for her long term contributions to the sport.
In 2009, the Oceania Handball Federation was disbanded and was re-established on 21 April 2011 as Oceania Continent Handball Federation. Paul Smith (Handball Australia) was elected as President and every year the member federations are re-electing the executive committee.
|1.||Mr. Alexander Dimitric||Australia||1993 - 1998 (Oceania Handball Federation est.)|
|2.||Mr. Vernon Winitana||New Zealand||(1st Term Elected) December 1998 - 2003, (2nd Term Elected) May 2003 - 2008
(OHF dis-established in 2009)
|3.||Mr.Paul Smith||Australia||21st April 2011 - 23rd October 2014 (Oceania Continental Handball Federation re-established)|
|4.||Mr. Ricardo Blas||Guam||23rd October 2014 - till date|
- Oceania Men's Handball Nations Cup
- Oceania Women's Handball Nations Cup
- Oceania Handball Challenge Trophy - Under 21's
- Oceania Youth Handball Championship - Under 19's
- Oceania Beach Handball Championship
- Oceania Youth Beach Handball Championship - Under 17's
- Pacific Handball Cup
- French Pacific Handball Championship
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