In an arena on uneven ground, Teo Kee Chong rises to meet a pass and unleashes a mid-air shot that ripples the back of the net. The left winger has just scored two points with one strike.
Goals like this, similar to “alley-oops” in basketball, and from 360-degree spins count for double in beach handball, where stylish plays are rewarded.
“The game is intense and gives you more points for extra effort, so I constantly find myself trying to score these style points more,” said Teo, 23, who also represents Singapore in indoor handball.
Beach handball bears little resemblance to the indoor version, apart from requiring to throw the ball into the goal. The court is smaller, and its tight quarters and sandy base provide trickier obstacles.
“The footwork is different and the ground is unpredictable. Sometimes you won’t know whether you can fully execute a jump or sprint because the sand isn’t flat,” explained Teo, who first played the sport in 2016.
Beach handball is expected to be hotly contested, with Thailand and Vietnam eyeing top spot. Singapore is aiming for a podium finish. “The whole team is committed to do our best and with our preparations, we can push for a medal,” said the National University of Singapore undergraduate.
Beach handball rules:
The game is played on sand courts by two teams of four. A match consists of two 10-minute halves that are scored independently, meaning a team has to win both halves to be victorious; a shootout will ensue if a tie occurs. To up the ante, players are rewarded for style. By scoring in spectacular fashion, they can earn two points instead of one.