AFTER spending almost two years dealing with boardroom squabbles, all seems to be settling in well for the Zimbabwe Handball Federation and last week they won the Sport Development of the Year award at the Annual National Sports Awards.
Problems for the local handball organisation began in 2010 with squabbles arising after an election that ushered in the Amon Madzvamuse-led executive.
Former president Agrippa Sora challenged the manner in which the elections were held and lodged a complaint with the Sports Commission.
But despite all these in-house problems, the ZHF had a fruitful year, managing to send the men and women Under-20 national teams to the IHF Zone VI Challenge Trophy tournament in Johannesburg towards the end of March. Both teams managed to win bronze medals.
The national federation also sent a national team to the IHF World Cup and the team came 19th out of 33 national teams and 12 coaches went for an international grading course in Sweden.
And for their sterling efforts of developing the sport, the ZHF were duly rewarded and won the Sport.
Development of the Year award during last Thursday night's ANSA function.
ZHF president Madzvamuse said the award is a reward for the effort they have put in to improve the sport and overcoming challenges that were hindering the progress of handball in this country in the past years.
"I think from handball we can say we have been doing all things that are supposed to be done both in administration and running of the sport.
"As handball we managed to prove ourselves that we are now there in the game. We can say this after managing to have a breakthrough into the zonal system.
"We can say we are now looking forward to breaking into the international world," said Madzvamuse.
The ZHF president said they are happy that local teams that have been competing in zonal competitions this year have done well.
"We are just coming from South Africa where our teams won in the Umlazi handball invitational tournament in Durban. Our teams also won bronze medals at the IHF Zone VI Challenge Trophy back in April and our referees have also been in the limelight.
"With these trophies that we have won, we hope to have more smart partnerships and have sponsors coming in to support us because if some were doubting us, they can now see us as people who can run the sport well.
"I have been voted vice-president for the Zone VI and this came after some people saw the (good) work that we were doing. ANSA also saw it fit to give us this award," Madzvamuse said.
The ZHF have also managed to spread the sport to most of the country's 10 provinces and they now have a sound junior development programme which has seen handball being played at both primary and secondary school level this year.
Beauty Mutsambiwa, the headmistress of Girls High School in Harare, is spearheading the ZHF's development programme at school level.
In fact, her school, Girls High School, have been one of the schools that were actively involved in playing handball this year and they were part of the players that recently travelled to Durban, South Africa, for the Umlazi Handball Club invitational tournament.
The ZHF have also managed to lure a number of "outsiders" into their administration structures and they include Bindura-based businessman Kudakwashe Kanengoni who was appointed the manager of all national junior teams this year.
This, Madzvamuse said, was deliberately done to get more people involved in the running of handball in this country.
"We are determined to scale greater heights and we can only achieve this if we also get people from the corporate world like Kudakwashe Kanengoni involved in the running of the sport in this country.
"We want to take handball to the people and make it one of the most popular sporting disciplines in this country," Madzvamuse said.