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HANDBALL

France beats Sweden after test of nerves

Defending men's handball champions France were pushed all the way in a gripping Olympic final on Sunday but retained their crown, edging a tight contest to beat unfancied Sweden 22-21.

After their victory in Beijing in 2008, the powerful French side went on to become the first men's team in history to hold the Olympic, world and European

titles at the same time.

But Claude Onesta's side also had something to prove after a disappointing campaign at January's European championships in Serbia, where they failed to
reach the semi-finals.

"We were superb. The players were outstanding and the fans incredible. What a magnificent game, atmosphere and occasion," said Onesta.

"It is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. To win it four years ago was fantastic but to do it in London in the next Olympics was
even better."

"I thought my team played a hard, strong game both in defence and attack. We had our plan and it came off," he added.

In a cagey opening at the Basketball Arena, the score was 3-3 in the 11th minute, with goalkeeper Johan Sjöstrand impressing in the Swedish goal and
neither side able to impose themselves on the contest.

The French team led 10-8 at the break but the tenacious Swedes pulled one back seconds after the restart.

Midway through the second half France still led by the narrowest of margins but with the noisy crowd belting out La Marseillaise, the Scandinavians
crucially failed to get back on level terms, with French goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer making some vital saves.

Amid mounting tension, a penalty for Sweden brought the scores back to 21-20 as the seconds ticked away but a strike by Luc Abalo restored a two-goal
margin and that ultimately proved enough.

Michael Guigou top-scored for the French, with five goals. Niclas Ekberg was the topscorer for Sweden, with six goals.

Sweden, who were not expected to advance much further than the quarter-finals, having been a team in transition, also won silver in 1992,
1996 and 2000.

"We did not attack the way we can. Defensively we were strong but we could have been better in attack and scored more goals," said Sweden coach Staffan
Olsson.

"But we have to accept the defeat and think about the positive things. Even though it is hard right now to do that."

Earlier, Croatia came out on top in the bronze medal match, overcoming Hungary 33-26.

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OLYMPICS

MAP: Here is where events will be held for 2024 Paris Olympics

Organisers of the Paris Olympics have released a new list of venues for events in the 2024 games - including one 15,000km away from Paris.

MAP: Here is where events will be held for 2024 Paris Olympics
Photo: AFP

The revised map of venues still needs to be approved by the board of directors on December 17th, but is expected to remain unchanged.

Faced with the financial crisis caused by the pandemic and lockdowns, the Paris committee has come up with a revised venue list which its says will save €150 million by scrapping two building projects and amalgamating other events into the same venue.

The big loser is the département of Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris, which was to get two new temporary sites for aquatic events and volleyball.

However the area keeps the Olympic Village for athletes, while the opening ceremony and athletics events will be at Stade de France in the area.

 

Here is a high-res version of the above map, and here is an overview of the revised map of events;

Lille – The handball events, previously planned for Paris, will be held at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille in northern France.

Marseille – the southern city of Marseille will hold sailing events

Tahiti – will host surfing. The island of Tahiti is part of French Polynesia, one of France's overseas territories, which makes it technically part of France, despite being 15,000km away from Paris.

Versailles – The site of one of the world's most famous royal palaces is only about 20km outside Paris and will host equestrian events and the modern pentathlon.

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – the Vélodrome nationale in the town of Saint-Quentin, about 25km outside Paris, will host the track cycling events, while golf will be held in the same town.

Elancourt – the town of Elancourt, about 30km from Paris, will hold the mountain bike events, while nearby Trappes will host the BMX bike events.

Vaires-sur-Marne – the commune about 25km east of Paris will host canoeing and kayaking at the Stade nautique.

Paris

But unsurprisingly for a Paris Olympics, most events are in or around the city. Here's an overview of the bigger events.

Stade de France – France's 81,000-seater national stadium in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris will host the opening ceremony, followed by athletics and rugby.

Seine-Saint-Denis is one of France's poorest départements, and the Olympics had been envisaged as a major regeneration project for the area. In spite of the loss of two venues in the cost-cutting programme, there is still plenty happened in the northern area.

Diving, synchronised swimming and water polo will all be held in the Aquatics Centre.

Olympic Village – the athletes will stay in purpose-build accommodation in Saint-Denis which afterwards will be available as housing for local people.

Shooting, climbing and the media centre will be hosted in Le Bourget, Seine-Saint-Denis.

Hockey – will be held in Colombes, in the Hauts-de-Seine département to the west of the city.

Moving within the city boundaries there are 12 locations that will be used for Olympic events.

Swimming – will be at the La Défense Arena in western Paris. A multi-function arena, it is the home of Stade Français rugby club, while also hosting multiple sports events and being used as a music venue in the evening.

Tennis and boxing – Roland Garros – home of the French Open – will naturally host tennis events, as well as boxing.

Table-tennis, weight-lifting, volleyball and basketball – the Parc des Expositions will host these events and the preliminary matches of the basketball events.

Gymnastics and basketball – the Accor Arena hosts the finals of the basketball, as well as gymnastics events.

Football – Parc des Princes, home of Paris-Saint-Germain, will host the football.

Badminton, rhythmic gymnastics – the La Chapelle arena hosts rhythmic gymnastics events, plus badminton.

But the Paris committee is also keen to use non-sporting venues to host events, including plenty of outdoor venues, to really integrate the games into the daily life of the city.

Taekwondo and fencing – the beautiful and historic Grand Palais, which usually operates as a museum, will host fencing and taekwondo.

Cycling – some cycle events will finish along the Champs-Elysée, as the Tour de France does.

Urban sports – this year's new events, including breakdancing, and other urban sports will be held in the Place de la Concorde

Archery – will be held at Invalides, a historic landmark begun in 1690 on the orders of Louis XIV for injured soldiers.

Wrestling, judo and beach-volleyball – will be held on the Champs-de-Mars, next to the Eiffel Tower.

Cycling, walking racing, marathon, triathlon and open-water swimming – these will all be held partially on (or underneath in the case of the swimming) the Pont d'Iéna over the River Seine in central Paris. 

The games run from July 26th to August 11th, 2024, followed by the Paralympic Games from August 28th to  September 8th, 2024.

 

 

 

 

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