Olympic Games - Hawkins: Handball cuts would make Britain 'laughing stock'

Mark Hawkins will soon find out whether British handball has a future and hopes they will not be the laughing stock of Europe.

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The 26-year-old was part of a British handball team that made history at London 2012 this summer, fulfilling a host nation place to compete at the Olympics for the first time ever.

Britain failed to claim any points however, and suffered another defeat in their first match after the Games, losing to Greece as qualification for the 2016 European Championships began.

Hawkins and co did well even to make it to Loutraki with players asked to pay for themselves to get there as the funding well given to British Handball for the build up to the Olympics had run dry.

UK Sport are set to announce how much, if any, funding handball will receive following the Games on imminently with only those that can demonstrate medal-winning potential set to be backed.

And Hawkins fears cuts could be fatal and leave the nation red-faced, saying: "A lot of countries know about the group we have and how we got to the Olympics.

"And they are impressed by what we have done and it will be almost a little bit embarrassing if it is not allowed to continue.

"In a lot of other countries handball is so big that they do not understand that we have done all the hard work to start the team but then it gets cut it off at its knees.

"The funding decision is going to have a big impact on the future of the team. We still struggle if the funding decision does not go well.

"I am not sure what will happen but I think it will have a bigger impact on us than other sports. Not having a national team will make a big difference to the sport."

Hawkins plied his trade in Iceland in the build-up to London 2012 but has been training on his own since the conclusion of the Games back in August.

And, no matter what the outcome of UK Sport's funding decision, Hawkins is determined to return to playing on the continent in the New Year.

"I have been doing a lot of training and looking for a club and trying to sort that situation out so I can go back to Europe," he added.

"I have got a few things in the pipeline and a few people that I am talking to at the moment, it is something that I am trying to sort hopefully by the New Year."

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