THE Zimbabwe Handball Federation have stepped up their preparations for this year's Partille Cup which will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, from July 1-7.
Amon Madzvamuse, the ZHF president, recently indicated that they will be sending a strong team of more than 100 schoolchildren who will represent Zimbabwe at this year's Partille Cup in Gothenburg.
The schoolchildren will be drawn from seven of local handball-playing primary and secondary schools: Chishawasha Primary School, Houghton Park Primary School, Howard High School, Kwekwe High School, Girls High School, Morgan High School and Rusununguko High School.
Madzvamuse said Chishawasha and Houghton Park primary schools will represent Zimbabwe in the boys and girls Under-13 section during this year's Partille Cup in Gothenburg while Howard High from Bindura and Kwekwe High will carry the country's flag in the Under-16 category.
"In the Under-20 section, we will have a girls team from Harare's Girls High School and Rusununguko from Bromley. Harare's Morgan High School have also indicated that they would like to send their boys and girls team to the Partille Cup.
"So, we are likely to come up with one strong girls Under-20 team that would be made up of players from Girls High School, Rusununguko and Morgan High.
"All in all, we (Zimbabwe) are going to be represented by more than 100 players and officials at this year's Partille Cup and this is going to be the largest contingent from this country since we first took part in this prestigious tournament two years ago," Madzvamuse said.
In fact, each team from Zimbabwe will have 16 players and four officials, and the organisers of the Partille Cup have indicated that they will meet all the expenses of the first 40 people or participants from this country once they arrive in Gothenburg.
Madzvamuse said this means that the other members of the Zimbabwean delegation for this year's Partille Cup will have to pay for their own expenses once they are in Gothenburg.
Two Zimbabwean handball referees have also been invited to officiate at this year's Partille Cup.
Madzvamuse said they have already stepped up their preparations for this year's Partille Cup which they are taking seriously.
"The schools that have been picked for this year's Partille Cup have already started their preparations for this prestigious tournament and I understand some of them have not even gone or break for the current school holidays.
"This means everybody is taking our participation in the Partille Cup very seriously and we are not going to Gothenburg to make up the numbers but to win something for the nation.
"We are determined to bring back home some medals from this year's Partille Cup and we will be aiming to get a podium place in all the age-group categories we will be participating in," Madzvamuse said.
The ZHF boss said their participation in this year's Partille Cup will help them identify talented players that they will groom and nurture for other major international tournaments in the future.
The Partille Cup is a youth team handball competition held annually in Gothenburg and is open for both boys and girls of ages 10 to 21 years.
It has been held annually since 1970 and organised by a Swede handball club, IK Savehof from Partille.
It is the world's largest annual team handball cup tournament by a number of contestants.
In fact, the Partille Cup is the world's largest handball tournament for young people and during one week every year, nearly 19 000 participants from 50 countries descend on Gothenburg to participate in the cup.
Many participants remember the Partille Cup with joy, perhaps because it is so much more than just handball.
Since its inception, over 300 000 players and leaders from all six continents have taken part in the Partille Cup. Here they enjoy the special feeling that occurs when an entire world meet, socialise, have fun, exchange thoughts and ideas.