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Aussie handball team turns to crowdfunding to pay for Olympic dream

Reporter: Greg Navarro 丨 CCTV.com

08-17-2016 11:02 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

Simply being good enough to make it to the Olympics is pretty tough. But for many the challenge doesn't stop there as you still need money to train and then get to the actual Games.

One team in Australia, have come up with a novel way to cover their costs, as the men's handball squad turned to crowdfunding, using the online resource as a way to pursue their 2020 Olympic dreams.

Aussie handball team turns to crowdfunding to pay for Olympic dream

Aussie handball team turns to crowdfunding to pay for Olympic dream

Handball is a sport that can be tough to describe.

Players said, "It's a combination of water polo, ice hockey and basketball."

"I need to be prepare to wrestle guys, I need to jump over guys, I need to out run guys - there's a lot."

But there's one thing that you won't find with the sport of handball in Australia
A lot of support.
"Look Handball is obviously not the biggest sport here in Australia," said Sebastien Traverso, Australia right wing.

Specifically - financial support. The last time Australia's national team qualified for the Olympics was in 2000 in Sydney - given an automatic spot as the host nation.

"I think the Australian Olympic Committee, their funding is based on medal chances and obviously for us, we are a long way from a medal so we are not going to get any funding," said Caleb Gahan, Australia left back.

When Australia's national team players wanted to go to the Olympic qualifying tournament last year in Qatar - they were faced with a daunting obstacle.

"We had to collect I think it was something like $200,000 for everyone to go there," said Thomasz Szklarski, Australia left wing.

Too much for some of the national team players who train here with the Sydney Uni handball club - and work full-time jobs.

Caleb Gahan also said, "One of the guys on the team, he had this idea we could go crowdfunding and it's a good idea - I wasn't expecting much to come of it."

The team launched its crowdfunding campaign on the website go fund me.

One of the biggest donations to this team's fund didn't come from Australia - it came from Germany - from another handball club.

"They said basically we have money, 2 to 3 weeks before because otherwise we wouldn't go," said player.

That donation led to a lot of exposure in Europe where the sport is popular - and a lot more money.

The Australian Men's National Team raised more than $14,000 AUD for the trip but failed to qualify for the Rio Games.

The team already has its sights set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 - and says crowdfunding will continue to play an important role.

"We are famous for that we never give up and we proved that through the sport," said player.

And for the way they think on their feet when it comes to jumping over financial hurdles.

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