England Handball’s Elite Performance Academy celebrates superb year as key milestones reached

England Handball’s Elite Performance Academy (EPA) has celebrated a hugely successful year, reaching several key milestones. 

The academy, which is located at Loughborough College, was established in September 2020, and provides full-time handball programmes to the country’s most promising young talents – individually tailored to allow each athlete to achieve their potential. 

The EPA is about to take on its fourth cohort of future stars, following on from its best year yet. Achievements during the 2022-23 season included the EPA’s biggest ever cohort, the first graduates appearing for the GB senior teams and its first group of graduates joining an international handball academy. 

Joao Castro, Elite Performance Coach, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many players from our programme going on to pursue professional contracts, play abroad or further their handball journey into coaching and officiating.

“These graduates will become the next generation of handball leaders in England and these milestones are hugely meaningful towards the growth of our sport in the UK. 

“The future is bright for the Performance Pathway at England Handball, and we can’t wait to see what the coming years hold for us here at the EPA.”

Here are the eight achievements in full: 

  1. 2022-23 was the biggest cohort ever – 15 new student-athletes joined the EPA in September 2022, and during the season it had a maximum of 27 athletes training (13 girls and 14 boys).
  2. The EPA saw its first group of former athletes join an international handball academy. Six athletes joined ISI – Ikast Academy in August 2022 for one season, to further develop their potential at a higher level of competition.
  3. EPA former athletes turned out for GB Senior Teams for the first time. Two athletes played for the women’s GB team in the EHF European Qualifiers against Turkey in November 2022.
  4. EPA athletes participated in the M18, M20, F17 & F19 GB junior teams for the first time. A total of 14 athletes played at the European Championships and one athlete went on to win the IHF Trophy (the biggest junior achievement for GB Handball) in 2022/23.
  5. We saw the first EPA former athletes to become handball coaches. Three athletes did their Level 2 qualification and around 20 did their Level 1 qualification.
  6. EPA athletes obtained refereeing qualifications for the first time – seven did their Level 1 qualification during the 2022/23 season.
  7. A marketing milestone – one of our athletes designed a new logo for us, meaning the EPA now has its own brand. 

The team at the EPA are preparing for the new season, which began this week. For more information about the EPA, visit our special page here