Perth, beach handball made for each other

Beach handballers, from left, Bronwyn Smith, manager Rikke Petersen, Denise Westhaeusler, Christie Suggate, Oliver Machell and Will Davidson. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d404146
Beach handballers, from left, Bronwyn Smith, manager Rikke Petersen, Denise Westhaeusler, Christie Suggate, Oliver Machell and Will Davidson. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d404146

The 25-year-old, who has played handball most of her life, moved to Perth from Germany over six years ago.

Westhaeusler was elected Handball West’s president last year and is working to promote the sport she loves.

‘I really wanted to continue this great sport (in Perth), and was looking for an opportunity to play and train,’ she said.

Westhaeusler founded the Curtin Handball Club. The team won a silver medal in the 2009 Tertiary Sports WA Games, and gold in the 2010 Tertiary Sports WA and Australian University Games. She said the UWA Handball Club was established about the same time.

‘The sport reached out to not only European players but also to the locals and has reached a whole new young community,’ she said.

‘The Olympics are a boost for the sport as well. We have two indoor seasons going after the university calendar and one outdoor season.

‘Beach handball has developed in to a very competitive sport and since it has been introduced, Australia has never missed the World Championships.’

She said four WA players had been selected to represent Australia at the Beach Handball World Games in Cali, Colombia from next week.

‘WA is the home of the men’s head coach for the Australian Beach Handball team (Boris Mensing) and the three team managers,’ she said.

Mensing (35) said it was great to see the development and growth of the sport in Australia over the past years.

‘Australia has got a great opportunity to achieve great results on an international level,’ he said. ‘It is played outdoors, on the beach, the perfect sport for everybody living in Australia.’

Westhaeusler said the men and women State teams were preparing for the Australian Handball Championships in Adelaide in October.