Bucharest, December 22, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Irina Stoica
A joke has been making headlines in Romania these days. Apparently, UEFA has agreed to allow the Romanian women handball team to represent the country at the European Championship in 2016. Joking aside, these amazing players have once again managed to bring together millions of sports lovers and make them proud of their national team, even though we’re not talking about the Romanian sport of choice, football. They came home with such an unexpected bronze medal from the World Championship in Herning, Denmark , that people consider them to be Romania’s golden girls, more than ever.
The players and staff members were welcomed at the Official Hall of the ”Henri Coanda” International Airport by Youth and Sports Minister Elisabeta Lipa, Secretary of State Carmen Tocala and president of Romanian Handball federation Alexandru Dedu, as well as by friends and relatives. There were lots of hugs, cheers and kisses involved. Some of them came
from Elisabeta Lipa, whose motivational message to them was that she wants to see the national squad win the 2016 Olympics. “I congratulate you on your World Championship performance, as well as on the determination and dedication whereby you fought until the last minute of each match. I am sure that the pre-Olympic tournament will be just as the Romania — Poland match and I hope to see you Olympic champions next year”, Lipa said.
Team captain Valentina Ardean Elisei was thankful for the warm welcome: “We are glad that we returned home with a medal. We want to carry on like this and further have as many as possible positive results”.
The Romanian national handball team won the bronze on Sunday at the World Championship hosted by Denmark (Herning), after defeating Poland 31-22 (15-8) in the match for the 3rd spot on the podium. Romania will battle Denmark, Montenegro and Uruguay to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, with the pre-Olympic tournament scheduled for March 17 — 20, 2016. The first two teams in the group secure the tickets for the Olympics.