A trio of Kelvinside Academy S6 pupils have been called-up to the Great Britain U18 training squad ahead of this summer’s European Handball Federation Championships.
Euan Brady, Hamish Bottomley and Zander Geddes will join other U18 hopefuls for intense training camps in March and April, ahead of the final selection in July.
The three boys, who also play in the school’s first XV rugby team, formed part of the trailblazing year group to play handball at Kelvinside Academy just five years ago. All three have since represented Scotland at U15, U16 and U17 level.
In the short time since the sport was introduced at Kelvinside Academy, the school has won 16 national titles, the most recent of which was the U17 schools championship which took place last Friday, and 13 pupils have been capped for Scotland at age grade.
Teacher Fiona Kennedy, who continues to lead the programme which has seen the prestigious west-end institution become a centre of handball excellence in Scotland, said, “The pupils caught the bug watching a game at London 2012, and they haven’t looked back since. It’s been infectious, everyone wants to have a go. It’s amazing how quickly so many of our pupils have taken to the sport.”
“With more than 100 of our pupils playing handball every week, the School now employs handball coach, Sarah Carrick, herself a senior GB player. News of these GB call ups should encourage even more people to take part. The boys have really shown both natural talent and immense dedication to reach this level,” added Fiona.
Goalkeeper Hamish Bottomley from Scotstoun, who was named Scotland’s U17 player of the year last year, said, “In my final year at the school, it’s amazing to look back and think how handball has grown. I’m excited not only to get the call-up and have the chance to prove myself against the best in the country, but also to get to experience it with two of my friends who I started playing with just a few years ago.”
Zander Geddes from Newton Mearns is excited to fight for a place in the squad for the championships, which take place in Tulin, Austria from August 10 to August 19 this year. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard I had been selected. It’s a huge honour. I’ve loved the sport since I started playing it. Handball’s not widely played in this country but I think that’s bound to change,” said Zander.
Last season, five Kelvinside Academy girls represented GB under 17s but the trio will be the first to play at U18 level.
“We all want to play at full international level, that’s the dream,” said Euan Brady from Jordanhill. “This journey all started by watching the GB team play at the Olympics and it would be incredible if a Kelvinside Academy pupil was to complete that journey. I hope I’ll be first but there are plenty of others vying for that spot. I am so lucky to have had the chance to try a different sport and take it to this level.”
To learn more, visit kelvinside.org.