The bronze medal obtained at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham was a kind of “revenge” for the Argentine Kamikazes, after having ranked seventh in the Beach Handball World Championship.
Carolina Ponce (22 years old) from Ensenada was part of both teams of the Argentine women’s Beach Handball team. The same “specialist” who won the gold medal at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, where this sports specialty had its “explosion” at the popular level, causing a furor among spectators.
Of course, it was not an easy road for Carolina to reach the World Cup on the Island of Crete. Greece, and to the World Games 2022 in Birmingham, United States, since she suffered torn ligaments in both knees, during different periods with surgical interventions, which meant a long recovery for the Student player.
“Getting the bronze medal at the World Games was like taking a quick revenge on the seventh place we achieved at the World Cup in Greece. Our goal was to be able to get on the podium or at least be in the top five to qualify directly for the next World Cup, ”Carolina began in the dialogue she had with this medium.
Later, Ponce recounted his first experience in the Senior World Championship. “The truth is that I arrived with just enough as a result of my injuries. It was all very intense. Physically I was ten points, but regarding the game I started training a month and a half before the World Cup”.
“I was fine and happy to play my first World Cup -Ponce continued-, but when I got to Greece I felt the pressure. I wasn’t sure things were going to go well for me on the court. It was something like that the record of everything I had lived fell on me. I felt insecure in the game. I immediately talked about it with the members of the coaching staff and with my teammates who constantly gave me all their support. That’s how I improved game after game, but on balance I was only half satisfied with my performance”.
Initially, Carolina was not on the payroll for this edition of the World Games 2022, where different sports participate that the IOC puts them to “test” to be alternatives to join the definitive schedule of the Olympic Games.
Ponce’s call came two days before traveling to Birmingham, since due to problems with Lucila Balsas’ visa, which did not allow her to enter the United States, the “specialist” from Ensenada took her place.
“The truth is that it came in very handy for me, since I had the possibility of taking quick revenge from an individual and collective point of view with respect to the World Cup,” Ponce continued, adding that “I played with a different mentality. I was more relaxed and regained confidence in myself. At the World Games we were able to take a set from Germany, who was the world champion and this tournament. That set was the only one that the Germans gave up counting both tournaments. Later with the United States we had proposed that we could not miss that game, because it meant nothing more and nothing less than the bronze medal. So it was. We went out to give everything and got on the podium, which was a great happiness for the group”.
Carolina visited the newsroom carrying the bronze medal and a statuette received by the Kamikazes (as the Argentine women’s team was baptized) for having climbed to the third step of the podium and a recognition granted by the International Handball Federation for the seventh place in the World Cup.
“I think that Beach Handball had enough merit to be part of an Olympic Game. It is an eye-catching specialty that provides a show for the public”, acknowledged Ponce, who will have a rest period until November, although he is already preparing for the ODESUR Games and the World Beach Games in Bali, in Indonesia, which will take place during next year.
Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, was present in Birmingham and, according to what could be ascertained, he observed with great pleasure and attention the different men’s and women’s Beach Handball matches. What could open the doors to this specialty at the upcoming Olympic Games.
Going back to Carolina Ponce, who is in her fourth year of teaching Physical Education at the UNLP, has a Beach Handball School on the Punta Lara campus, located on Avenida Almirante Brown at 5009.
The Kamikazes ranked seventh in the Crete Island World Cup
“Beach Handball made merits to be part of an Olympic Game”