45 Year-Old Mark Rayner Jailed For 15 Years
Name:- Bobby White
Date of Birth:- 06/12/89
Born:- Milton Keynes/Northampton
Lives:- Valence, France
I am Goal Keeper and Captain for the Great Britain Handball Squad currently aiming to compete at the London 2012 Olympics.
I started playing Handball in 2007 after progressing through the UK Sport ‘’Sporting Giants’’ talent identification programme, having been a Football Goal Keeper to semi-professional level previously. The prospect of representing my nation at a Home Olympics is a strange thought considering I will have only had 4 seasons Handball experience when the opening ceremony takes place in East London, July 2012!
It has not been an easy transition, despite the general aim being the same (stopping a ball going into a net...).
After the initial trial phase where over 2500 applicants were whittled down to just 7 athletes, I began learning my new trade at a Sports Academy in Aarhus, Denmark. Denmark is a leading nation in Handball Development and I was immediately immersed in a ‘Handball Culture’. Daily training with World Class coaches and watching elite matches facilitated my development and I signed for my first club BMI who competed in the Danish Jyland Serie (essentially the 7th division). Not a high level in the grand scheme of things but I had to start somewhere and seeing the season through with BMI gave me a great deal of game experience.
Funding issues with UK Sport and the British Handball Association in autumn 2008 meant that a re-think to the way our development programme could continue with minimal impact on the players. I was fortunate enough to be offered a ‘scholarship’ at A1 Bregenz, champions of the Austrian Handball league. In August 2009 I moved to the picturesque town of Bregenz which is located close to the Swiss/German borders and sits pleasantly on Lake Constance. Accompanied by breathtaking views of the Alps, I settled into the lifestyle quickly. The highly professional environment was inspiring and training with players with International and Champions League credentials allowed my performances to improve at an exponential rate and it was at this time I produced one of my best performances for GB in a 32-32 draw with Luxembourg.
Unfortunately my time in Bregenz was cut short. Finances were again at the heart of the problem. After only 4 months in Austria I was on my way back to Denmark. I was offered a place back at the Academy in Aarhus where many of the GB squad had managed to stay thanks to a partnership with the Academy. In return for our food and board, we provided manual labour services which basically saw us refurbish the buildings and maintain the grounds, which wasn’t fun in the winter but it was a good deal for us and allowed us to continue our handball development. I was lucky enough to sign for BSV (Bjerringbro-Silkeborg-Voel) who are one of the best clubs in Denmark. I would be playing for their reserve team in the Danish 3rd division which was a big step up from where I was playing the previous season but my time in Bregenz had put me in good stead for this opportunity. I was fortunate enough to have some training sessions with the first team which was an amazing experience training with some truly world class players that I would hopefully be playing against come 2012! The hard work was paying off and my performances were gradually becoming stronger and more consistent.
Another spanner in the works was soon to follow, but luckily it was at the end of the season. The Academy in Denmark had informed us they could no longer afford to offer us the same deal for next season so it would be up to us to find another sustainable situation to continue our journey.
After some interest from clubs in Norway and Denmark, surprisingly I found myself in Greece come pre-season 2010! More specifically I was in Crete, and signed professional terms with Kydon, Chania who compete in the Greek 1st Division. Half way through the 2010/11 season I was forced to have surgery on an long term Hip injury which kept me out of action for around 5 months. Back to full fitness and ready for the final season before London 2012, I have signed for Valence Handball Club in France. That is where I am up to this point.
(Courtesy of www.bobbywhitehandball.com)
Key Olympic Dates
Sunday July 29th
Time:- 19.30 Preliminary Round Group A vs France
Tuesday July 31st
Time:- 14.30 Preliminary Round Group A vs Sweden
Thursday August 2nd
Time:- 16.15 Preliminary Round Group A vs Argentina
Saturday August 4th
Time:- 09.30 Preliminary Round Group A vs Tunisia
Monday August 6th
Time:- 16.15 Preliminary Round Group A vs Iceland
Wednesday August 8th – 12th – Elimination/Semi/Finals
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